Flexible working best practice

Flexible working is a phrase we’re all pretty familiar with by now. However, the world of flexible work today has evolved greatly compared to a few years ago; what used to be a luxury in many organisations, has now become a fundamental part of many job seekers’ must-haves when searching for new roles.

Working flexibly has a whole range of benefits for both the employer and employees, but what approach their organisation should take and how they can make it work best for them is a question many employers are asking. If you’re in a similar position, below we’ve shared a few of the different approaches and outlined best practice for flexible working to help you have a smooth transition into the new way of working.

What does flexible working mean?

Flexible working could mean a number of things. It could involve a mix of office and remote working such as at home, a café or maybe a co-working space. Or, it could mean flexi-time where employees choose the hours they work. For some organisations, it might be a reduced working week; this could be an organisation-wide policy such as a 4-day working week or working longer hours in order to take off another day.

It’s important to note that flexible working is subjective - what works for one organisation, might not be the best solution for another. You have to find what works best for you and your employees, and this is where some best practice comes into play.

Flexible working best practice

Put a policy/guidelines in place

Flexible working isn’t something that just happens overnight. It’s not as simple as heading in on a Monday morning and announcing it to staff, particularly if it’s a brand new concept for your team. Your employees are likely to have questions; it will be much more successful if you’re transparent with your team about exactly what flexible working arrangements are available, who is eligible and what it means for things like meetings. This is where having a clear policy in place will help. Here’s what you might outline:

  • What options are available?
  • Who is eligible/are there any exemptions?
  • Is it automatically available or do you need to request it?
  • What does it mean for meetings?
  • How will you ensure there is cover?

Offer a range of flexible working

If it works for your organisation, offer a range of different flexible working options for your team. We mentioned earlier that flexible working varies for different organisations and the same goes for employees, too. For some of your team, hybrid working might be what they’re looking for; others might like working in the office full-time but with flexi-hours. Flexible working works best for organisations when it’s working best for their employees.

Maintain a positive culture

A positive company culture is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. In fact, 46% of job seekers say company culture is an important factor, with 88% saying a healthy culture is vital for success. However, often when introducing flexible working policies, maintaining culture is one of the top concerns. Company culture starts with developing your employer brand and having a shared vision across your workforce; employing people that share this vision will be key to maintaining a positive culture with a flexible workforce. We’ve shared some tips on maintaining culture in our blog post here.

Trust your employees

Linking with a positive culture, trusting your employees is absolutely essential for flexible working to work for your organisation. You don’t want to fall into the trap of micro-managing because of lack of trust. Trusting your team will add to your positive culture, thus improving employee morale and increasing productivity.

Lead by example

Many employees are reluctant to embrace flexible working if they don’t believe it’s fully supported by senior leaders. The best way to show support for it is to lead by example by promoting work-life balance - ensure managers embrace flexible working themselves to highlight that the policy is supported by leaders. Equally, it’s just as important that managers listen to what their team prefers doing - some employees may not embrace any flexible working arrangements because they’re happy with what they already do.

Listen to employees and review

As we mentioned earlier, some options may work better for your organisation than others. Review your policy frequently, try out different approaches and see what works best for you and your employees. Similarly, it might work out better for some employees than others; some may need a little more support or for you to check in on them more often. Employee wellbeing should be your number one priority, especially when operating with a flexible/hybrid working policy - check out our recent blog for tips on how to maintain wellbeing.

Utilise technology

Managing flexible working is much easier when utilising technology such as a visitor management system that supports employee sign in. When your team is working from different locations or with a range of hours, it’s important to know where they are not only from a safety and wellbeing perspective, but also for communication and collaboration. Utilising an app for employee sign in and desk booking gives you, the employer, the visibility of where your staff is and enables employees to see if their colleagues are working in the office - and if so, where they are sitting, making it easy to plan for collaboration.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a visitor management system can assist with your flexible working policy, get in touch with the team here at Sign In App to find out more about our employee sign in and desk/meeting room booking solutions. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week on live chat, phone and email - find all of our contact details here.