Last week we looked at the importance of flexibility and how workplace flexibility shifts from just where to work to when to work. We also discussed how providing flexibility to employees benefits the company. This week we will see four practical tips for better flexibility.
1. Promote a Flexible Workplace Attitude
A company management who favors flexibility is not overly concerned about tasks but are willing to do anything to motivate their employees to get the job done, even if it is not part of their job descriptions. They are ready to change their ways based on the nuances of the situation. If you show your employees the same attitude, they will reciprocate this flexibility when it comes to commitment to their work.
Flexible with Time
Flexibility also means flexibility with timings. This means that employer and employee will not be bound by time constraints. Employees can come in early to complete a task, or work a day off or at later hours than usual in order to accommodate project deadlines. Employees who are flexible take those deadlines in their stride and work accordingly even while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Employees who are happy to contribute to their respective teams’ progress are ready to cover for their colleague, if need be, in case of leave of absence. In fact, flexible employees usually offer to do this, with the understanding that the same will be done for them when the time comes.
2. Encourage Telecommuting
With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, telecommuting or remote working/WFH has become all too common and for many firms this has become permanent. A lot of employees love to work out of the office and have time to spend for their personal lives instead of commuting to and from the office. Telecommuting allows them to do exactly that. With the application of the current technological platforms, employees can work from anywhere and come into the office only when necessity dictates. You can even go a step further if you want to and make remote working permanent.
3. Set New Policies and Guidelines
New set of policies and guidelines that understands the new normal will help your employees adapt seamlessly to working remotely. These are two suggestions we would like to put forward.
Create a WFH Policy
If and when you have implemented a flexible workplace policy, most of your employees will be working from home or a place of their choice. A WFH or remote working policy has to cover numerous aspects of working remotely. These points will ensure that both employer and employee are aware of what is expected of them. These points are as below.
• Which employees can adopt WFH
• How to request for WFH
• Working hours
• Communication channels
• IT support and equipment
• Cyber-security and confidentiality
• Physical work environment
• Grounds for termination
The policy document can either be a written document that has to be read, understood and signed by the respective Team/Line Managers and the employees.
Focus of Data Security
In a traditional workspace, data is usually transferred over a securely within a closed network. But while your employees are away in a remote island having a family vacation while working remotely; cyber security can be a challenge. To ensure the success of your flexible work strategy, you will need to implement additional data security measures and incorporate them to your remote working policies. Here are a few measures that you may include:
• Avoid public Wi-Fi networks for official purposes.
• Always use a secure internet connection and a VPN.
• Never discuss confidential company information over calls in public. Make use of secure communication channels instead.
• Don’t visit websites or apps that violate company policies.
4. Promote Healthy Work-Life Balance
A key policy a flexible manager must show is that he/she has to support their employees in maintaining a good work-life balance by not over or under-working. This was a commonly seen practice among employees in the last year. Also, it is not necessary for you to wait for a special occasion to give an employee a day or two off. You can encourage employees to take breaks even while they are working from office. A flexible manager understands the needs of his/her employees and allows off-times accordingly. For instance, you can provide time off for working parents during school holidays.