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How to make flexible working benefit your business

A work-life balance is one of the key contributing factors to a happy and productive work force.

Changes in legislation have been recently passed to enable anyone who was in the same job with the same employer for at least 26 weeks to request flexible working hours. Finally able to shape work around their lives (rather than the other way around), the UK’s workforce could be set to experience a complete overhaul.

The question now is how will the legislation affect businesses as a whole? As an employer, you may feel some understandable trepidation, but prepare to embrace your employees’ requests as we show you how to make flexible working benefit you.

Set clear objectives

One of the biggest fears employers have for their flexible workforce is assurance of productivity outside the office. But don’t think it’s just you; many employees will be concerned about being able to show what they’ve done too.

Setting clear and deliverable objectives is the easiest way to help your team stay on track, and to help you see what they have been up to. Motivation should come naturally to appreciative and happy employees who are working at their own pace.

Face-to-face meetings

Team Meeting

Sometimes, face-to-face is the only way, and this is definitely the case for regular team meetings. Bringing your team together a couple of times per month is the perfect way to keep everyone motivated.

It’s also a great opportunity for team and relationship building. Treat these meetings like a social event – hold them in the local, or provide food and drink in the office. This way your employees can have a chat and connect with their fellow workers in a more natural manner.

Be flexible about what flexible working can mean

Times are a-changing, and very few digital jobs provide an hourly salary – these days, it’s all about the annual pay check. In stark contrast to this however are the set hour’s employees are expected to work, meaning Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five is still a main stead of the office party.

If the employee reaches their targets, do they really need to be spending a solid block of their time working over five days per week? Giving them the flexibility to get the work done, with the premise that you don’t care how they do it so long as they hit the deadline, will open your business to some of the most talented workers in your industry.

If hours are really important to you, how about offering the same amount spread over six or seven days, rather than five? Alternately, some employees may want to spend one day mid-week away from work, and work longer hours to “make up the time”. Make the working week as flexible as you can, and your employees will take note at how you value their personal lives.

Keep an open mind

Working Outdoors

Think flexible working won’t fit your business? Think again. If an employee comes to you with a request to work on their own for part of the week and you’re concerned about X, Y and Z, instead of rejecting it point blank, ask them how they would deal with those problems. They may have anticipated this roadblock and already have a solution.

Concern is natural, but employers outright dismissing requests for flexible working are damaging their businesses and risking losing valuable employees to a company that’s willing to accommodate a more personalised schedule. Those who embrace the style are opening their business to bigger and better things, giving opportunity for growth and respecting their workforce.