Make flexible working a success for your organisation

September 24, 2022

Now that social distancing restrictions have been lifted and organisations have reopened for business, employee requests for flexible hours and remote working arrangements remain and are gradually becoming the ‘new morn’. This is due to the pandemic forcing companies to evaluate how, when and where their employees work.

However, as we resume to some sort of normality, organisations are left questioning how flexible working will work for them moving forward. After speaking with numerous clients, it’s clear that the challenge most employers are facing is understanding that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to working flexibly.

Whilst some organisations are happy to continue working fully remote post pandemic, others prefer a blend of both in-person collaboration and hybrid working, and as organisations come in all different shapes and sizes, it’s important to find a solution that works best for your business model.

Understandably, there are a high number of organisations that cannot fundamentally change their process. However, how can these organisations strike the balance between what worked for them before and adapt to the new ways of working, without changing the operations of the organisation altogether.

Our recent blog offers employers advice, based on what we have learnt from both candidates and clients over the past 12 months.

What do your employees want?

We have found that for many organisations we work with, listening is the first part of the process when it comes to considering a flexible working strategy. Now that our views have changed towards working flexibly, it’s important to understand what your employees want, and value moving forward. Many organisations are afraid to ask this question in fear that their staff will want to work fully remote, however the trend that we are seeing suggests that this is not the case, at all.

Organisations that have asked this question have actually found that their employees are eager to have a happy medium. Whilst some individuals prefer the benefits of working fully remote, a large majority of staff actually find it mentally challenging and would prefer to be split between the office and working remote.

How can your organisation adapt?

Whilst flexible working may have been a nice consideration for the future for many organisations, it is slowly becoming a reality for much of the UK’s workforce. Jobseekers are now searching for job opportunities that offer a better work-life balance, and companies are battling it out to offer candidates the most attractive flexible working package. So, with this in mind, how can your organisation adapt to the new ways of working to ensure they retain key talent?

The days of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a people strategy is long gone, and whilst it is still being debated by senior management teams, HR professionals have been talking about taking a more ‘holistic approach’ for several years.

After speaking with our clients, it’s clear that the organisations that have either thrived or survived during the pandemic are those who were able to adapt their business model to the restrictions, ways of working and innovate their strategy to give their employees what they ‘need’ vs what they ‘want.’

How should your employees be observed?

It’s now more important than ever for organisations to keep an eye on their staff as we come out of the pandemic. The past 18 months have been a challenge for us all, so employers need to go the extra mile when it comes to checking in with their teams. Be sure to allocate a small proportion of your day to your staff to see if they need any guidance or help overcome any issues they may be having. This is also an effective way to offer some flexibility when needed.

Obviously, there are some organisations which do not currently offer a flexible or hybrid working strategy, this is often due to the nature of the role where the typical ‘formal’ flexible working arrangement is not possible. However, organisations should consider implementing this into their business model as a benefit as and when people need it, as it is a great way to make employees feel valued and appreciated.

If you are considering implementing a flexible working strategy for your organisation, or if you currently have a hybrid model in place and would perhaps like guidance to see if you are managing the process in the correct way, please contact a member of the team, who can offer impartial advice that may help you with your ongoing people strategy.

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