Flexible working is now possible for the majority of offices in the UK. A garden office is the perfect way to set up an office at home without the distractions that can come from working remotely.
Improve productivity with an garden office and these six tips on how to implement effective flexible working practices in your workplace.
The options employees can now ask include part-time working, flexi-time and job sharing, compressed hours and working from home or remotely. Many businesses will be seriously concerned how they can offer this, whilst ensuring business as usual and employees are still as productive. But there are many advantages of flexible working.
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Below are some tips on how implementing flexible working practices can make the workplace a more productive place, and we go through 6 advantages of flexible working:
Embrace the ‘cloud’
Cloud computing offers the ability for employees to work remotely. Workers no longer need to be office bound and with the right technology in place including VoIP, Skype, ‘Go to Meeting’ people can work seamlessly from any location. Cloud computing can actually increase workforce productivity by up to 20%, according to research from Pixmania, “staff work two hours more per day if working on mobile devices”. One good option is moving to a privately managed cloud computing service, such as a Desktop as a Service, (DaaS), often referred to as a Hosted Desktop Service.
Although the “cloud” is relatively new to some businesses, introducing this to your workforce as everyone is transitioning to work remotely is a great idea. Employees will be encouraged to learn how this kind of technology works because this will be the only platform to be used by your entire workforce.
Don’t clock watch
Remember employees have lives outside work, and those lives will overlap sometimes. Try to be flexible if a team member has to leave early for a home emergency or take a day off because his child is sick. Face-time is important, but so are results, and being flexible will keep your employees happy and loyal. Remember, that trust is vital too, companies need to demonstrate they fully trust their staff to ensure flexible working is successful.
When transitioning to a flexible working scheme, it’s important to give your employees the liberty to live outside of work. Instead of requiring them to face their computers for at least eight hours every single day, give them a task and set a deadline for it. Don’t pay too much attention on how they spend every minute of the day but assess the quality of their input. As long as they’re able to submit your requirement on or before the deadline, you won’t have anything to worry about.
Aside from making sure that your employees stay productive, this can also boost their morale as it shows that you trust them to work.
Have an open discussion about how flexibility affects people’s responsibilities and how they can be contacted when they are away from the workplace. To ensure that everyone is one the same page and reminded of their respective assignments, communication is vital in a flexible working environment. Before you start allowing your employees to work from home, set everyone’s expectations and decide what are the dos and don’ts in this kind of working setup. Having this discussion early can prevent conflict and enforce positive relationships among everyone at work.
Keep customers and managers informed of progress and seek feedback on the improvements you and your team have achieved. Supervisors and managers should also check on their subordinates regularly, and not only when an employee did something wrong. Regular feedback can help an employee improve and ensure that their progress is monitored.
Flexibility needs to be two-way
Not every proposed flexible arrangement will be right for the business, as the needs of customers and the business have to be prioritised; the arrangements needs to work for everyone involved.
Make flexible working acceptable
Be prepared for changes in legislation and have your policies on flexible working ready. Explain clearly to employees how flexible working will operate and ensure mangers lead by example too.
Encourage remote working
Remote working becomes truly enabled through cloud based ‘Hosted Desktop’ solutions as they allow employees to log on to to all their business applications from any location. It also offers businesses the flexibility to move locations easily, create satellite offices and hold meetings anywhere.
Flexibility in the workplace involves give-and-take. The responsibility for making flexible working must be shared by employees and managers. Together assess challenges and advantages of flexible working openly. When there is good communication and a well-understood culture in a team, flexible working hours can benefit a business by increasing staff retention, decreasing absenteeism and achieving greater productivity through increased job satisfaction.