How To Provide Workplace Flexibility With Accountability
By Abbas Ali – Vice President, TASC Outsourcing
At TASC Outsourcing, we take pride in finding the right individual with the right skills for the right opportunity. In the majority of our talent acquisition activities, we’ve noted an increase in the number of candidates who put a premium on flexibility when asked what for them is an ideal working environment. Yet we have also discovered that even in today’s technologically advanced, globally connected workplaces, “flexibility” is still a word feared by employers. Considering that reputable studies show how employees who get flex work benefits are happier, more productive and tend to stay with an employer longer, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that employers would be happy to implement such programs and leverage them as recruitment and retention tools.
The hesitation on the part of companies, however, stems mainly from one thing: a perceived lack of control over the work an employee on flexi time is producing in terms of quality and quantity.
As an employer, you might be surprised that flexible work programs have had proven positive effects. Employers benefit financially as most employees are willing to accept a cut in salary and forego insurance when given the opportunity to work from home. Companies also enjoy reduced rental and utilities costs, among other benefits. On the other hand, employees working on flexi arrangements report higher levels of productivity because of fewer distractions such as interruptions from colleagues.
A deeper look into the systems and processes of your company may be able to reveal whether a flexi program can work for your organisation. How should you go about it?
First, ask yourself a few relevant questions, such as whether your employees absolutely must complete tasks within a 9 to 5 timeframe. Is it necessary for each employee to be physically in the office all 5 days of the week? Is it more cost-effective and time-efficient for an employee to conduct face-to-face meetings outside the office?
Next, consider whether you are equipped with the infrastructure and technology to support your employees who work off-site. Video conferencing and a secure network where everyone can remotely access data and files in real-time are just two of the tools that can help ensure the whole team is up to date on the task at hand. They also offer reassurance that your employees are putting in the effort and hours required of them even if they don’t physically clock in and out of the office.
Lastly, think about what flexi work program will work best for you. At this point it would be a good idea to get feedback from your employees, after all, this would impact them most. Would working fewer days in the week work best for you? Can employees only come to the office when face time is absolutely necessary? Will earlier start and off duty times be better? Listen to what the employees say and take that in consideration when making your final decision.
In today’s ever-changing work environment, it is projected that most companies, from SME to huge multinational, will have a form of flexible work program in place by 2020.
Is your company ready for the challenge?