Flexible workplace policies have been on corporate agendas for decades, with numerous organizations implementing structures to help employees strike a healthy work / life balance. However this topic has gained even more traction, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with schools being closed, leaving working parents responsible of a growing workload and a full-time job at home.
Accordingly, in a webinar delivered to a hundred business owners and HR managers, the IFC has outlined 5 simple steps to introduce a flexible work policy. These steps include:
What are the benefits of flexible workplace policies?
By understanding the numerous benefits of flexible work policies, the business case surfaces. Benefits can include increased employee recruitment and retention levels, in addition to enhancing employee morale and loyalty. Employees who feel well taken care of by their employers, will more likely give back in terms of time and quality.
Other benefits to flexible policies, as outlined by the IFC, include reduced absenteeism, and company also record a boost in productivity levels amongst their teams when a proper work / life balance is achieved.
As with the norm of remote working brought on by the pandemic, the environment also reaps the rewards. Just think of the contribution to environmental sustainability, with reduced travel, office energy costs and paperwork. The result is a decreased environmental footprint (which you can even report on in your CSR efforts).
Lastly, with proper flexible work policies, business continuity is ensured, especially during natural disasters or pandemics, as the system to work remotely has already been established.
Factor in the concerns
Every employee’s situation is unique, but commonalities may be derived to design more flexible work policies. Of course, this also depends on the nature of the business, as strategies may differ for corporations versus factories.
Businesses should speak to their managers and team members to understand what really matters to them. Companies should factor in the different time zones and how that impacts its global teams. In addition, challenging work environments, that have become more strenuous due to school closures need to be addressed. And lastly, businesses need to instill a culture of trust, to ensure that team members deliver and are productive when they commit to be.
Some of the best practices in flexible working arraignments include:
After factoring in the benefits and concerns, design your flexible work policy
Ensure your flexible workplace policies factor in:
How to communicate flexible work policies
Companies need to actively communicate the policies and indicate who is eligible, to avoid abuses of the system. By creating a synergy of trust and care between the business and its teams, companies may become an employer of choice.
Use different and multiple channels to communicate the policies, such as emails, newsletters, team meetings the intranet, workshops and so on. It is important to repeat the messages in more than one form, as some employees may be more receptive to one medium over another.
Businesses can also identity an opinion leader within the organization who has the ability to relay information in an effective manner and influence others
And lastly, ensure that any concerns or questions are addressed, and added to the FAQs.
The level of flexibility of your workplace policies can determine employee and top talent retention and contribute to your business’ long-term success. Plan wisely.