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Should I Consider Remote and Flexible Working as Options For My Business?

While travelling extensively for work may sound glamorous,  it can be hard being away from the office and living out of a suitcase. Fortunately, it’s the 21st century and technology makes it easy for us to stay connected and on top of things while on the road. 

 

You can work anywhere, anytime and from any place because technology allows it!

The HRLocker Road Trip made it over to Bristol in November for the Southwest expo made so many new connections and met loads of inspiring business owners and companies. It is great to know that so many modern companies are trying to make happy working a priority. This approach makes sense as it increases productivity in the workplace.

 

So how can companies today embrace the future of work?

Today’s employees are more connected than ever and technology allows employees to work across multiple devices. People are working, not only in the office but also at home or on the move. It is not unusual for people to work on their computer and also have their smartphone to hand, multi-tasking and absorbing multiple types of media at once.

The traditional approach has been for employees to come into the office and do their 9 to 5. Sometimes, kept busy with ample water cooler time and chats and cups of tea, it can be hard to focus and get things done. Allowing employees to work at home can increase productivity. In fact, Forbes has claimed that the home is the most productive workplace!

Working from home doesn’t suit everyone or every job, it takes employee discipline and trust plus it must fit in the business to make it successful. As an employer, you can allay any fears you may have, by enabling employees to log their hours and communicate using technology. People Management programs like HRLocker allow employees to clock in and out, receive important HR Documents or request training from any place at any time.

Whether you are using Microsoft Teams, Slack or any of the many other collaborative tools out there to keep in touch it does not matter, communication is key!

We use Microsoft Teams which is a great tool that allows the team to share documents, ideas and important information. Most people who use Office 365 have Teamed as part of their package. Teams allow your team to chat in real-time, do phone or video conferencing and even host meetings.

HRLocker has a mixture of office-based and remote employees. Microsoft Teams allows us to have everyone attend the meeting (no matter where they are working) by simply clicking on the calendar event. There are other collaboration tools to explore and what your business chooses to use is up to you.

 

What about Flexi Time? Remote working?

People have lives and there may be times when they need to work a different schedule. This can be due to childcare needs or maybe they are night owls or early risers. A company that offers flexi-time can make their employees much more committed and content. Of course, it is important to establish clear rules on how this will work.

Flexi-time means that employees can start early or late and do their working hours at times that suit them and the company for successful collaboration. Employees still work the same volume of hours, but they work at times that fit in with their lives and lifestyle. the number one priority needs to be delivering results for the business so figure out what works for your company.

HRLocker has set out core hours where it is important to be available. Our team are reaping the benefits of being trusted to do their work and be able to let life and work coexist.

Flexi-time can also address the gender pay gap and the problems that many moms face when returning to work.

It can be hard juggling work and kids, there can be times when the kids need to be collected early to attend appointments or go to the doctor. Flexi-time can also help with the huge problem of being present during the summer holidays. These issues can prevent people from returning to work or cause them to take a career break that prevents them from advancing in their careers. Unfortunately, these problems disproportionately affect working mothers but employers who look at these challenges and incorporate flexible hours can alleviate these issues.

Some companies have decided to go even further and allow employees to do a 4 day week. Galway-based HR & Recruitment company ICE Group feel that their staff will be more present and productive plus increase output when well rested and energized after a 3-day weekend. This is a decision that takes the employee’s well-being into consideration and allows people to have a better work-life balance. We all love a bank holiday, imagine having that every week!

The online news app TheJournal.ie, conducted a survey in March 2019 with 87% of respondents voting that they would welcome the opportunity to work a 4-day week. This does not work for all businesses but with clever planning and rostering the business can still function for the full 5 days while allowing employees who want to do their 40 hours in 4 days the freedom to do so. Obviously, there will still be people who need to do 5 days and that is fine, being flexible is one of the key assets candidates look for in potential employers.

 

What can a company, thinking of embracing flexible working, do to get started?

Give it a Go!

Check out which role you think might be best to try this practice with. Assess whether there are certain roles that need to be available at certain times. This does not need to stop progress, people can work from anywhere with the correct technology.

Talk to your employees

Why not ask your employees if would they be interested in participating in a pilot? Is there a need to have flexible hours? You may be surprised some people may have no interest but will appreciate you considering the practice.

Equipment & Technology

If you are going to allow employees to work from home, make sure they have access to communication tools and vital equipment like a headset, keyboard and mouse.

Check out their workspace

From home working to work it is essential that each homeworker has the appropriate workspace. In some cases, it may be necessary to confirm the employee has made proper arrangements for childcare to ensure they don’t get interrupted when on vital conference calls and the like.

Be flexible

Establish some parameters like core hours and then empower your employees to work at the times that suit the business to operate effectively. If you are worried about documenting their working times use a clock-in-clock-out system (like HRLocker).

Some people want to work remotely but don’t want to work from their house

As remote working has become popular many people still find it hard to work from their apartments or house. If this is the case, allow the employee to suggest another location, like a Digital Hub, a nearby hotel or even the library could work in some situations.

Be Open

A lot of people are often worried that asking for flexi-time or remote working will affect their job progression or status. Make it clear that you trust your employees and how choosing to remote work might affect their careers within the company. This may affect progression positively or negatively, just be honest and then employees can make the right decisions.

Amend your Job postings

Make sure to share that the company allows flexible working when advertising open positions. This should broaden the pool of people who apply, you may even be inundated with too many candidates! Smart recruiting can be done with an applicant tracking system like our HIRE feature.

Implement a team communication tool

We use Microsoft Teams and have used Slack in the past, these tools allow teams to stay connected from any location and on any device.

Sit back and relax

Let things settle and enjoy the increase in productivity, employee happiness and engagement that comes with embracing flexible work arrangements.

If you are uncertain about how to start, there are some great resources online and you could always book a call with a member of the HRLocker team. We are a mixture of remote and office-based staff and have reaped the benefits of allowing our employees to work from anywhere anyplace because technology allows it.

Should I Consider Remote and Flexible Working as Options For My Business? was last modified: December 5th, 2022 by Adam Coleman

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