Flexible Working – An employer’s view

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With the introduction of new regulations surrounding flexible working at the end of last month, you may be feeling concerned about how this may affect your business. Although the thought of your employees walking in and out of the office throughout the day may be causing you to feel uneasy, there are in fact many benefits to be had for employers, as well as ways to take control so your employees don’t abuse your good nature.

Benefits

Retain valuable employees.

This is perhaps the most important reason for permitting flexible working hours as it could be the only way to ensure you don’t lose key members of staff who simply need an improved work-life balance. This could be particularly significant in terms of preventing your competitors from snagging your best employees.

Increase productivity.

Your employees will appreciate your flexible nature allowing them to work at times when they are most productive (mornings/afternoons) and is more suitable to their schedule. In return, you’ll find your staff will work harder, as well as be much more loyal and dedicated to the company.

Boost Morale

With your staff working hours that suit them you will find the working environment improves considerably as everyone will be in a much happier mood when they are in the office. As well as improving productivity this will also decrease absenteeism and turnover, which could save you a considerable amount of money down the line.

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Clarification

To ensure everyone knows who is responsible for what/who you must make it explicitly clear to each employee exactly what their role entails: what they are responsible for and what you expect from them. This is vital when you have employees who are frequently out of the office as when issues arise, they need to know who to contact and who is responsible for finding a solution. This will avoid confusion and ensure productivity doesn’t slip unnecessarily.

Communication

Both the mode and frequency of communication needs to be established before you let your employees start their flexible working contracts. Determine how much contact you require and whether you prefer this to be done over the phone, email or in person. This also involves deciding on how you want to be kept up to date about their progress each week: do you want a written summary, phone call or meeting every Monday morning? It’s important to set guidelines so you’re both clear on how this process is going to work for both of you.

‘Core hours’

This is a concept many employers have come to rely upon when introducing flexible working hours into their business. Essentially, it involves determining a time when all of your employees are required to be at the office for a certain period of time. This allows you to organise important meetings and announcements when all employees are physically present. In addition, those working flexible hours must detail when they’re available for contact via phone and/or email, as well as when they will be present at the office so people know when and how to get hold of them.

Goals

To ensure those on flexible working contracts are reaching their potential and not slacking off when they’re out of the office, make sure you set goals with them before they start their new contract. If these goals are specific and set over a certain time period, you can feel reassured that your staff are working towards something just as if they were present in the office.

So if you’re feeling anxious about the introduction of flexible working hours, consider the benefits and think carefully about how you could make it work for your company. If you’re still uncertain, check out what employer’s must do at www.gov.uk/flexible-working/overview.