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Flexible working – Finding the best balance.

by Cesca Abbott

23rd Apr, 2024

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The work environment has undeniably shifted over the past few years, with flexible working becoming not just a preference, but a priority for many. As we navigate this new ‘normal’ way of working, it's becoming increasingly clear that the concept of being in the office still holds significant value for both companies and employees...and so it should. 


From recent discussions with our clients, there's definitely a growing interest in having their employee returning to the office on a more regular basis. Typically, remote workers are being asked to work on a more hybrid basis. It’s important for people to remember that the office isn't just a place of work; it's a hub for collaboration, innovation, and community. The spontaneous conversations by the coffee machine, the quick brainstorming sessions that happen in the corridor—these moments can spark ideas and solutions that remote working will miss.


The move towards having employees back in the office doesn't mean abandoning the benefits that flexible working offers. Instead, it's about finding a balance. Hybrid models are emerging as the most popular solution, offering the structure and community of office life while still providing the flexibility that modern workers value.

 

Here are 8 strategies to help you establish a win-win balance for your business:


1.    Lead the way: Demonstrate your commitment to flexible working by practicing it yourself. When leaders embrace flexibility, it sends a powerful message to employees that it's acceptable and encouraged.


2.    Communicate the benefits: Educate employees about the benefits of flexible working, both for individuals and the organisation as a whole. Highlight how it can improve work-life balance, increase productivity, enhance job satisfaction, and attract top talent.


3.    Establish clear policies: Develop comprehensive policies and guidelines outlining the organisation's approach to flexible working. Ensure that these policies are easily accessible to all employees and clearly communicate the procedures for requesting and implementing flexible arrangements.


4.    Provide training and support: Offer training and resources to managers and employees on how to effectively manage flexible working arrangements. This includes guidance on communication, time management, and maintaining productivity while working flexibly.


5.    Promote trust and accountability: Emphasize trust and accountability as fundamental principles of flexible working. Trust employees to manage their time and workload responsibly and hold them accountable for delivering results regardless of where or when they work.


6.    Offer flexible options: Provide a variety of flexible working options to accommodate different preferences and needs. This could include remote work, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, job sharing, or part-time arrangements.


7.    Ensure technology support: Invest in technology tools and infrastructure to facilitate remote work and collaboration. Provide employees with access to reliable communication platforms, project management tools, and remote access to company systems.


8.    Regularly seek feedback: Solicit feedback from employees about their experiences with flexible working and any areas for improvement. Use this feedback to continually refine and enhance the organization's approach to flexibility.


Ultimately, our stance is that companies should strive for a model that not only aligns with their operational needs but also supports the well-being and productivity of their teams. Do your best to create a workplace culture that embraces flexibility, but also recognizes the unique advantages that in-person interactions can provide.

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