In today’s world, we are more connected than ever and we are never truly ‘offline’. There is no longer a work-life balance, instead it has become work-life integration. More and more employers are realising that giving their employees the right to choose when, where and how work is done, is improving productivity, retention and engagement.

Flexibility ranks just under salary, when employees are surveyed on what attracts them to a job, so there is no question that flexibility works for both the individual and the bottom line. But as with most things, implementing genuine and worthwhile flexibility in the workplace can be easier said than done. Luckily, our friends at Tate Digital, have shared some tips on how to unlock the full potential of flexible working below. Catch them at our Manchester In-house Recruitment Conference on 7th November 2018 to further pick their brains on this topic.

Working flexibly doesn’t mean working less

Just because someone is sat at their desk from 9-5 pm, does not mean they are working, yet, because they are present, their lack of productivity is over looked. There is still a stigma that working flexibly means working less, however, research shows that 47% of flexible workers send more emails and make more phone calls, and 39% report working longer hours.

Let the results speak for themselves

Managers need to communicate expectations clearly and define results accordingly.

Through clarification, you can form greater bonds of trust with your employees, which will then allow flexible working to become a part of business practices. If employees deliver, it doesn’t matter whether they are at home, in the coffee shop, or in the office.

Give them the right tools

Where ever your employees choose to work, you must make sure that they have the tools and resources they need in order to do their job. For flexible workers, having the right resource could mean knowing how to navigate network drives to access important documents and information remotely.

Support network

Rather than leaving flexible workers to do their own thing, increasing manager contact can provide employees with the social interaction necessary for strong mental health. It can also remind them that they are doing a great job, giving recognition is one of the most important aspects of staff retention.

Be a role model

Support and buy-in from senior staff is vital to eliminating stigmas surrounding flexible work, and making the practice acceptable across an organisation. By setting a clear example, workers are more likely to encourage and support flexible working.

Mix it up

Surveys have found that employees who were the happiest with their jobs weren’t people who spent the majority of the week in the office, nor were they the people who spent the entire week working from home. Combining working from home, with a few days in the office has shown to be the most effective way of working. Be flexible with your approach to flexible working — one arrangement won’t suit all employees.

Failing to embrace flexibility will not only make it harder to harness the best of the talent market, it could stall innovation, and ultimately cost your business money.

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