Flexible working and working from home is a real hot topic at the moment. It seems like with millennials entering the working place, and the pictures on Instagram of using a Macbook by the sea have started to drive a real want from people to have flexible working.
Companies often wrestle with this. Typically those who are more mature in their processes & those who want visible presence from their employees. I get why this is this case, but, when doing the job I do, I often find brilliant candidates who don’t or cant meet the location requirements of the role. It really got me thinking, what should employers think about before
they allow, or reject flexible working.
1 – Do I trust my employees enough to allow it? Ultimately it boils down to trust. Sure, the odd person will always be the exception to the rule, but trusting your employees to complete their roles within times and locations to suit them is where this often falls down. So as a business leader, ask yourself, do you trust your people?
2 – Do they need to be present, visable or both? Recently, I had a candidate reject a role that was less money but a bigger responsibility purely because of required “visability”. He explained that he was able to work all sorts of hours to meet the needs of the role, but ultimately his family life was important and sitting in the office 8.00 – 18.30 everyday made accepting this role impossible. It wasn’t a money thing, it was purely a visability decision. The business wanted him to be present i.e available for calls and meetings, but also visable i.e they wanted to see him in the office doing his job.
3 – Will it suit my business? Ultimately, flexible working won’t suit every single business. As an employer it’s critical to consider if allowing flexible working will impact on your customer service and beyond anything else, your bottom line. If it will, maybe it’s not the route for you!
4 – Will I be comfortable with the perceived lack of control? As mentioned above it is all about control. Will you, as a leader be comfortable with your employees working from home and not being able to physically see the contributions they are making day to day.
5 – How will I measure success? If you go for it, and decide to implement a flexible working/work from home policy, it is worth considering how you will measure success. Will it be day to day wins, weekly productivity reports, monthly project completions etc? Each role may be different, but to really be in tune with how well your work from home strategy is doing, it is
worth being on top of “what good looks like”.
You could literally write pages and pages of considerations before implementing or removing something like this. It is really worth sitting back to consider the positive impact this could have on your company as well. Yes, there is a risk, but in equal measure there is reward. Could this type of policy remove the childcare costs, save the commuting time and money, allow
people to be back home before 7PM… and ultimately, could it create a benefit to them that is immeasurable and drive your staff retention up in return?
If you would like to discuss how to implement something like this, or discuss examples of businesses who have implemented & businesses that have removed working from home, then I would be glad to discuss.