What do you mean “flexible working”?
We talk a lot about working flexibility these days. Which is great because it shows we have grown up a bit – as people and organisations. It’s also a two-way thing – employees putting in the time when needed to get the job done and organisations flexing a bit when life gets in the way of business hours.
When we discuss roles with our clients, and role needs with our candidates – it is fairly clear that there are different interpretations of what ‘flexible working’ means. There are two main takes on flexibility:
This generally works well when people are needed in one spot to work together for the bulk of the time. The flexibility you can offer as an employer here is the varied start and finish times to suit your people. This is how we work at Consult – we just work better being together, so having everyone at home wouldn’t really suit us as a norm. We have core hours with flexibility in the morning and evening, and the opportunity to go to the gym during the day.
It’s important to clarify with your staff, however – that if it isn’t working (i.e. you aren’t seeing the same output from your people or it is impacting others work results), then it will need to be reviewed.
The other main option is flexible locations – this is when you can come into the office (or not) – work from home or the cafe or the beach (?!). This flexibility works well in roles where you need some quiet space, or time away from the team – think accounting, marketing (content creation), HR (strategy) etc. When you are focusing on creative work – often a quiet environment is what you need (as opposed to our generally open plan office environments!).
Flexible locations, however, are not without their downsides. The reality is many people (myself included in the past!) are easily distracted while working from home (think loads of laundry, putting dinner on etc). So while it is great to offer location flexibility if you can – you also need to ensure that your people are delivering what is needed of them. Some employers are giving their staff training as to how to work from home – which is a great idea (more on this in the coming weeks).
Flexibility is important today – everyone has busy lives and flexibility helps to ensure your people are that bit healthier and happier. If it also turns out that this means they are doing a better job as well – then it’s a no-brainer for business too.
For more information about roles with flexible working options – contact the crew at Consult!