Flexible working arrangements: How many businesses are succeeding
A major change caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has to do with our working arrangements. When the virus was first reported in the country, one of the government instructions was to work remotely if possible. During the lockdowns, this meant that vast numbers of people were working from home. Remote working has a number of advantages for employees, allowing them to cut out a costly and time-consuming commute and create a better work-life balance. Even though the easing of restrictions means it is no longer necessary to work remotely, many employees prefer to and businesses are adjusting to meet that demand with flexible working arrangements. Flexible working does not necessarily mean remote working, but in these arrangements, usually some or all employees will be able to work remotely at least some of the time.
To be able to work away from the business premises, it is essential that employees still have access to the devices, equipment and software they require to carry out their role. To increase flexibility, it may be worth investing in technology that enables working while on the move, such as cloud-based technology and mobile-compatible systems. As well as giving your employees even more freedom of where to work, it could also allow employees to work during a commute or when travelling to a meeting.
Record keeping and monitoring
It is important to have clear record-keeping processes and methods of how employee performance will be monitored to ensure that flexible working remains productive. Consider how working hours are tracked and whether these need to take the form of a nine-to-five routine or if employees can be flexible in their hours to work around family commitments.
Keeping in touch
One drawback to flexible working is that it can create distance between your employees and it can also make it harder to foster a team spirit between employees who rarely meet. Make sure your workers know who they need to contact for support and that line managers are equipped to deal with this. Virtual meetings can be effective but having some face-to-face meetings and in-person team-building times will help keep lines of communication open.
Flexible working in a pandemic
Many employees have found flexible working has come into its own during the pandemic as it has allowed those with asymptomatic or mild Covid to continue to work, easing the financial concerns of needing to take sick leave when they do not feel particularly unwell. Testing is key to identifying those with few or no symptoms, Matrix Diagnostics is one company that can supply batches of tests to enable you to encourage your employees to regularly take a rapid Covid-19 test, so they can adopt flexible working arrangements if necessary.
Flexible working arrangements are being embraced by a wide variety of sectors, including communications, tourism, education, engineering and management to name just a few. Covid-19 may have sparked this trend toward flexible working, but it seems likely to continue long after the pandemic is over.