Flexible working is difficult to manage because the way, the team communicates might differ and the managers have less control on the individual’s actual productive hours. How do teams communicate or collaborate in a flexible working setup? How do you keep track of a person who goes off the radar and maybe working from a cafe or coffee shop?
Managers lack visibility on the individual’s performance levels when it comes to flexible working options, hence organisations do hold strong reluctance to implement this idea for change. This flexible working concept is also called as “Agile working” wherein employees are allowed to work anytime, anywhere as long as they meet their goals and responsibilities.
An organization that offers flexible work environments is more attractive to prospective hires than one that doesn’t. According to SHRM survey, 58 percent of human resource professionals believe that flexibility is the new way to attract millennials. Managers now believe that they would gain average seven hours in productivity, only if employees were allowed to work on mobile devices. Interesting, the global chip maker Intel has more than 80 percent of its employees regularly working from home.
Enlisted below are some tips garnered through experiences, which if implemented by companies can bring about more efficiency and effectiveness from employees in a flexible working setup. Here are some dos and don’ts to follow for HR managers, to manage a highly creative and agile workforce with flexible working options:
Make sure you have set the right management tone within your organisation to inculcate transparency and responsiveness. Understand the team’s work patterns and set benchmarks for excellence, while aiming to be open, responsive and delivering to meet organisational expectations. It is important for HR managers to question if employees who go off radar for long periods of time and require great deal of chasing or monitoring, are indeed committed to work flexibly?
Advancements in technology have helped us communicate more effectively and at a faster rate today. Use technology to the fullest to monitor remote workers, understand especially if someone is online or offline during work hours and if documents for the day are uploaded successfully.
See: 4 Big-Time Benefits of Flexible Working Hours
Recruitment is a very crucial tool to be used effectively with careful diligence when hiring candidates to fill important job roles within an organisation. Flexible working is not for every role, especially those that involve direction, guidance, discussion, supervision, monitoring of activities and careful planning to meticulous details in consent with the management and workforce.
Hence HR managers play a pivotal role in recruiting the right candidate for the right role, to align their vision with long-term organisational objectives. When hiring, recruitment managers most often make the mistake of focusing on just skill sets for the job. However, individual’s work ethics should also be given due importance when hiring candidates to fill in vacant job positions.
If you have set efficiency and effectiveness as the organisational benchmark, then try to focus less efforts of mere presence of an employee on regular days at work. This could involve restructuring of your remuneration process to ensure that employees feel rewarded for their contribution and be valued as a key member of the team. Do not just offer appraisals based on man hours put during the day. Performance and efficiency is a key foundation stone for pursuit of excellence.
No two projects are the same, nor do two different people can function in the same manner. Hence, managers should keep a tab on the project delivery system and monitor team’s capabilities from time to time. It is also important for employers who allow flexible working for certain jobs to know the background of an individual, where and how they collaborate from. This will help ensure that the team has consistently delivery schedules at all times.
Sometimes changes need to be implemented more often depending on project requirements; hence the HR competency framework and performance system should be made adaptable and flexible to incorporate new modifications. Resourcing should be carefully monitored.
These tips will help HR managers to incorporate flexible working practices for certain roles within an organisation that demand little or no supervision and monitoring. HR managers should entrust reliability on an experienced and skilled workforce.
Flexible working is allowing employees the choice and freedom to work independently without maintaining a rigid framework by HR professional, such that they feel valued as a key member of the team to bring about organisational growth and influence change.
Also read: Why Big Names Support Flexible Working
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