Be inspired to embed a culture of flexible working that permeates throughout your organisation.
The Employer Branding Insights 2019 whitepaper from Wonderful Workplaces found that for 71% of respondents, a flexible working culture makes for a great place to work. Not only does this contribute to a powerful feel good factor but the bottom line benefits of improved profits, employer brand and employee motivation levels can be financially favourable and far-reaching.
Leadership from the top
Nothing says more than a leader who is prepared to show by example. Banishing age-old perceptions that you must be visible and present in the office to be working and productive begins with managers and heads of departments breaking down these notions. By working from home, remotely, core or compressed hours and, demonstrating that not only does this work but can boost productivity and levels of motivation, junior colleagues will be encouraged to adopt flexible working practices too.
It’s important that leaders are champions of flexible working and that it is not viewed as predominantly a perk of senior management. With an accessible policy for all levels, trust is also a key element in embedding flexible working, and leaders can achieve this by empowering employees, celebrating their achievements and supporting their new working patterns.
Key to incorporating flexible working into your company’s culture is having open lines of communication with employees. Guidance on how flexible working policies work in practice is crucial for setting boundaries and expectations. Tips and advice on how to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and other key stakeholders if flexible working is adopted is also helpful.
Professional body, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), suggests that organisations should examine the attitudinal and behavioural barriers to effective flexible working that exist within their own workplaces. Having an open dialogue can go some way towards removing these outdated practices and ideas.
Working parties that support flexible working ensure that issues are discussed, and people management systems and processes are in place to support new ways of working.
Flexible working relies heavily upon robust technology and SMART enabled devices. To truly embed flexible working practices into business culture it therefore follows that employees are equipped with the right technology and supported in how they use it.
Workers can be enabled to work as part of a team even if they are dispersed geographically with skype, cloud and video conferencing. E-mail, Whatsapp messaging and social media can also help employees to feel connected virtually and importantly feel aligned to their organisation’s values and people. Technology can also be deployed to develop employees when they are not in the office with e-learning modules and apps available anytime and anywhere.
Adopting flexible working practices takes time but by making incremental changes and getting buy-in from those at the top of the organisation, a culture of flexible working can be embedded into any organisation whatever the sector or size. Technology that is reliable, well supported and utilised by employees will ensure that when face-to-face contact is not possible, communication doesn’t suffer.
Need advice or help building your employer brand? Get in touch with Wonderful Workplaces on email@example.com
Annie Hayes is a specialist HR, skills, careers and L&D writer with 19 years experience in the sector.