Do you have a 9 to 5 culture where employees have to be in the office? A study from Gallup shows that over the years the need for more flexible working, meaning flexible hours and flexible location is increasing.
What steps to take for the practice
How to start this as a manager or department:
Tell your team/colleagues why this is so important to you. Work is evolving and it should be blended into your life. Employees are not to be seen as a one size fits all. Some want to bring their kids to school, some want to cook dinner at home on time. Some want to be able to work from another location.
Discuss with the team the rules of engagement. It can only work if they are involved and take accountability for the outcome that the team has to deliver to an (internal) client. F.e. in case of illness of a colleague a flexible approach to make sure there is someone present to answer the phone. Flexibility works both ways.
Depending on personal situations, one team member may need to have more flexibility than others, and this requires a team that is willing to give this to a team member in a time of need. Get over your own egos (he has it, so why can't I). It can only work if employees are willing to give and able to take when needed.
Start as a prototype. Don't wait for permission, just try it. And tell key stakeholders you are doing this.
If an employee is misusing his or her newfound flexibility, make sure to discuss this directly. Do not try to enforce all kinds of rules to control employees or to stop this experiment just because one out of ten is not aligned (don't 'punish' the team for the behavior of an individual.
Evaluate with the team on a regular base to continuously improve flexible working. Make sure the outcome is measurable in employee happiness, production and NPS scores. You can use a free survey tool for this.
Involve stakeholders as the HR department. Share your results and discuss constructively to let them help you. There are probably health and work environment responsibilities to be arranged. And help each other to implement flexibility across other departments.
Just the idea itself of flexibility already increases employee engagement. Implementing this is simple but not easy. It requires a lot of communication, feedback, persistence, and accountability. It can also be used for HR and company marketing, as part of the total Compensation & Benefits package. Engaged employees are more productive and invested in your company.
Do you want to know if this practice shows results? Start measuring!
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