The concept of flexible working has been around for quite some time, but it is now gaining traction in the workplace. Flexible working allows people to work from home or anywhere they choose, which can be a huge advantage for businesses who are looking to hire top talent, retain current employees and also save money on office space. But how do you introduce flexible working into your business? This blog post will outline ten steps that will help you set up your business to take advantage of this new but growing trend.
Step One: Assess Your Needs
The first step is to assess your needs. What type of work can be done remotely? What are the job functions that can be easily performed outside the office? Once you have a good understanding of what can be done remotely, you can start to create a plan for how to make your business more flexible.
Step Two: Identify Your Core Employees and Promote Flexibility for Them
Identifying your core employees is key to making this transition successful, as it will enable you to focus on the right people first and make sure they are able to accomplish their tasks without needing constant support from other team members or supervisors. You should identify these employees by their job functions, rather than who is being hired. For example, if your company relies on a lot of research and administrative work to be done in the office before it can be sent out for development or publishing, you should not promote flexible working right away for this department.
Step Three: Assess Your Technical Needs
If your business is reliant on a lot of technology, you will need to assess if the current infrastructure can support flexible working. In some cases, this may mean changing up the office layout or adding additional equipment for employees who are able to work from home. Other times it could be as simple as setting up an internet connection and buying laptops for employees who need them. For example, if your systems are mostly internal, VPN’s and related security systems may need to be researched and implemented.
Communication between staff is also key especially when there is a lack of spontaneous conversations between staff so video conferencing systems such as Zoom and Teams may need to be implemented as well as chat and discussion systems such as Slack and WhatsApp.
Step Four: Draft a Flexible Working Policy
Once you have assessed your needs, it is time to draft a policy for flexible working. This document should outline the types of work that can be done remotely, the expectations for employees and supervisors, as well as the technical requirements needed to make this transition successful. If you want to make sure your employees understand the benefits of flexible working, this should also be included as part of the policy.
Step Five: Communicate with Your Employees and Supervisors
The next step is to communicate internally about how flexible working will impact your company and what it means for different departments and team members. Some employees may have concerns about being left out of the loop if they are not working in the office, while others will be excited for a chance to work outside their usual routine. Once everyone understands how flexible working can benefit them and your company as a whole, you should start introducing it into different departments or teams slowly.
Step Six: Assess the Changes and Make Necessary Adjustments
As with any change, there will likely be some bumps in the road as you start to introduce flexible working into your business. This is why it is important to assess how things are going after a few weeks or months and make necessary adjustments. Are employees able to complete their work on time? Is the quality of work consistent? Is the workflow efficient and manageable? Assessing progress ensures that your company is able to properly adjust before you make it available across the board.
Step Seven: Start Promoting Flexible Working
Once you have used a trial period to assess how well flexible working is going for certain employees, departments or teams, you can start promoting it company-wide. This is a great way to show your employees how flexible working has benefited the business as a whole and will help retain valuable team members who may have otherwise been turned off by an office environment.
Step Eight: Continue Promoting Flexible Working
As companies continue to promote remote work, more of them are realizing that this is not something they should do for one or two departments, but rather to boost their overall company culture. Even if you decide to keep some employees in the office, there will likely be others who can benefit from flexible working arrangements and these individuals should also feel empowered by your efforts to promote this trend throughout the business.
Step Nine: Celebrate Your Successes
Since flexible working can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity, it is important to celebrate your successes along the way. This could mean hosting an event for employees who have been successful in working remotely, setting up a blog or newsletter that highlights different departments or teams who are thriving with flexible working, or creating a company-wide email that recognizes everyone for their dedication to boost productivity.
Step Ten: Review & Adapt
As time goes on and you work with different teams in your business who are successful with remote work, it may be time to consider making changes to the overall office layout. This can include things like providing more space for people to work from home, setting up a better system for video conferencing or creating quiet areas for employees who need to concentrate. By continuing to make changes that support flexible working, your company can ensure that this trend becomes a staple in the workplace and benefits everyone involved.
Now that you understand the best way to implement flexible working into your company, it is time to get started. By following this guide and communicating with employees about how remote work can impact their roles in the office, you will be able to create a more productive yet casual environment that benefits everyone involved.