The flexibility trend

There is no need to point out that employers and HR professionals are talking more and more about workplace flexibility. This is the current trend – a trend which is likely to stay for a while.

I refer to an article I wrote on workplace flexibility a few months ago.

It is understood that workplace flexibility might not work for all positions within companies. Some positions may lend themselves to be more flexible than others. And you may just have started to receive requests for flexible working arrangements from such individuals. As an employer in this day and age, it might be just the right time to start thinking of accommodating their request.

Workplace flexibility requires clear guidelines to make sure that you make it work for your company.

As an employer it is important to take the following measures:

Who is eligible?

All flexible working arrangements must be seen from the businesses’ operational and strategic needs. Therefore, not all job positions may be eligible for such working arrangements or not all job positions may be able to work flexibly during certain periods of time.

The eligibility must be clearly stated in a policy and should also be clearly communicated to all employees. The reason why employees apply for flexibility is irrelevant – the policy must remain fair and equal to everyone who is eligible.

What types of flexible arrangements do you offer?

There are various flexible working arrangements that an employer may choose to offer to its employees. You may have more than one arrangement open for choice.

Job flexibility is typically based on either location or schedule. ‘Location’ meaning that employees may work from another place, other than the workplace. ‘Schedule’ meaning that they can have different start and end times to their day of work.

Some options include flextime, working from home and a compressed work week. Employers may wish to give these options to employees for them to choose from or simply offer one type of arrangement. As stated earlier, it is important that the employer sees what works best for the business needs.

What guidelines do employees need to follow?

The policy must include a procedure which employees can follow when requesting flexible work arrangements. Employees may need to go through HR or first speak to their manager/supervisor. The policy will also need to include how long requests may take to be accepted/rejected.

With careful planning and a clear policy and procedure, flexible working arrangements may easily be applied to the company. The results of flexible working arrangements can be more positive than many employers think. It can make your employees more productive and satisfied.

At SurgeAdvisory, we help clients in identifying what flexibility options work best for their business needs. We also help in the writing of such policies and procedures.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.