Flexible working has become less of a perk and more of an expectation for employees around the globe. This is somewhat of a challenge for employers, particularly if the former office culture was closer to being all work and no play. However, if you want to attract and retain key talent, especially millennials and generation Z, it is vitally important to create an authentic, feasible flexible working policy. To help you with this, this article highlights three reasons why your current flexible working policy isn’t working.
Only One Party Is Flexible
Many companies boast a flexible working policy, especially when it’s getting towards five o’clock and there is still a mountain of work to finish. I once experienced this when I worked in corporate and I asked for that all-important tick-box exercise which would hopefully lead to my next promotion. My manager at the time said ‘We want really flexiblepeople to progress in this team’. However, what he meant was that I would be flexible with my evenings and weekends, but the team did not have the capacity to be flexible with me. This type of ‘flexibility’ breeds resentment and can actually cause more harm than simply having a rigid policy for working hours. One-sided flexibility can be just as detrimental to the relationship if the employee expects the maximum level of flexibility from their employer however is reluctant to work the odd evening or weekend during an extremely busy period.
Your Policy Isn’t Genuine
It is now unusual to hear a business say they are not open to their employees enjoying a flexible working policy. Many employers are happy to rave about flexible working on Linked IN or on the Careers page on their site, however in reality, day-to-day team members are not reaping the benefits. If you want flexible working to drive a true culture transformation and to attract great talent, it’s absolutely critical that you ensure your policy is genuine and can be taken advantage of by all members of the team. A great way to ensure you have a genuine flexible working policy is to keep in mind how many people are using it, when they are using it and most importantly that you feel they are benefiting from it. This will help keep you from bragging about your fantastic flexible working policy which nobody feels comfortable actually using.
You’re Asking For Proof
I have saved the best for last with this one. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when flexible working became a hot topic for employers. However, it is fair to say that its importance has risen in line with closing the gender pay gap and supporting parents in the workplace who wish to prioritise both their families and their careers. While this is a fantastic reason to have a flexible working policy, you should not limit the team members who can take advantage of it. It is important that you do not allow yourself to evaluate the importance of someone’s reason for wanting flexible working as this defeats the big picture goal of culture transformation within your organisation. In fact, you may want to encourage employees to use the culture to pursue a new qualification or hobby which could enhance their productivity within the workplace.
Having a flexible working policy for your employees is important. However, what is more important is ensuring that flexibility is a way of life at your office. In order for this to work you must trust your team, know that productivity and motivation are positively correlated and that the key goal to focus on is that the work is being done to a high standard, rather than obsessing over how long the work is being done for.