Tips for How to Implement Flexible Work Arrangements Successfully

Flexible work arrangements can help an organisation’s bottom line by reducing turnover, absenteeism, and tardiness. They are also proving to be advantageous to those organisations that wish to win the war for talent post-pandemic and in the Great Resignation.

However, some organisations may be hesitant about implementing flexible workplaces because they think that it will lead to less productivity from their employees ─ though there is no evidence that this is the case where best practices for flexible work arrangements are in place.

In this article, we outline flexible work arrangement best practices and how to implement flexible work arrangements successfully.

9 Best practices for flexible work arrangements in organisations

While there are many benefits to flexible work arrangements, there are also some challenges. For example, one of the most common challenges is that managers may not be able to provide proper oversight for all employees. This can lead to increased risk for the company, as well as decreased productivity from employees who work remotely or have flexible hours.

Another challenge is that managers may not be able to provide adequate training for all employees who work remotely or have flexible hours.

Such challenges are why the following nine best practices must be employed when embedding flexible working policies.

  1. Protect your business with the right insurance
  2. One of the most important things that you can do to protect your business is to make sure you have the right insurance. You should ensure that:

    • You have an appropriate protection plan for your equipment and data
    • All your employees have coverage for medical expenses and other related costs
    • You have an emergency strategy for times when someone gets sick or injured and cannot work
    • All employees have the appropriate coverage in case they need to take leave from work due to illness, injury, or pregnancy
    • Have cybersecurity insurance to protect you from data loss or data breach

    In business planning and strategy, insurance is crucial as you plan for the worst and hope for the best!

  3. Create structured yet flexible work options
  4. A structured yet flexible option should allow employees to work within your flexible working models and ensure that work gets done. You’ll need to consider how you will manage staff, and how they will be incentivised to succeed. For employees and the organisation to maximise the benefits of flexible working, it is crucial to structure correctly.

  5. Provide training for remote workers
  6. It’s not only about remote working as an option, but also about providing training for remote workers. This will give them the necessary skills to be able to do their job remotely and have a more flexible schedule. This includes cultural coaching and training on the technology that will be used when working from home.

  7. Ensure your technology is ready to go
  8. It is important to have the right technology in place to make flexible work arrangements a success. With the right technology, you and your employees can be more productive and efficient.

  9. Begin with a pilot program and a trial period
  10. A pilot program involves a small group of employees who are selected to evaluate a new flexible work arrangement for a period. The organisation can then assess the results, benefits, and drawbacks before deciding whether they want to implement it company-wide.

  11. Create clear communication patterns
  12. Employees and their employers must have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. This includes creating clear communication patterns, such as regular check-ins or weekly updates. This will make it easier for everyone to know what they are expected to do and when they are expected to do it.

  13. Use productivity metrics
  14. Studies have shown that employees who take advantage of flexible work arrangements are more productive, less stressed, and have lower absenteeism rates. However, an organisation can only assess this ─ initially and ongoing ─ if it has effective productivity metrics in place and measures productivity.

    For example, an organisation might measure how much time employees spend on an activity, the number of steps taken, and the amount of time it takes for them to complete their tasks.

  15. Offer multiple scheduling options
  16. Employees are individuals, with unique work/life balance requirements. Some people want more flexibility, while others want more stability in their lives. Some need a predictable schedule that allows them to plan their personal lives, while others need a schedule that can change from day to day.

    Offering a degree of personalisation via multiple scheduling options will help to ensure that the organisation is seen as a caring and valued employer ─ one that helps to find a balance between needs and preferences.

  17. Evaluate job satisfaction and employee performance
  18. Society is becoming more fluid, and an organisation’s working practices must adapt. It’s crucial to ensure that current working practices continue to boost the productivity and engagement of employees. The only way to do this is to continually monitor job satisfaction and employee performance. Should either start to wane, immediate remedial action can be taken.

How to implement flexible work arrangements in seven steps

It’s crucial that managers follow a strategic pathway when introducing flexible work arrangements. This will help employees to understand how they are required to act, and to ensure that benefits for employer and employee are attained.

The steps to take are:

  1. Set clear, attainable, and realistic goals with employees
  2. Be specific about outcome expectations
  3. Promote effective employee communication
  4. Develop and establish the flow or chain of information
  5. Conduct follow-ups with employees to help them stay on track
  6. Set deadlines and milestones for every objective or project
  7. Organise regular meetings to discuss issues, provide effective feedback, share information, and regroup and refocus

Management tips for implementing flexible working models in an organisation

Many managers have not been coached in people and team management skills. They are promoted because of their performance. Even fewer have formal coaching in managing remote employees. Fewer still have experience and/or training in managing flexible workforces.

The question, then, is how can an organisation improve the performance of its managers and leaders as it transforms into flexible working models?

Our tips are to:

  • Focus on developing communication skills
  • Manage outputs, not inputs
  • Evaluate success and failure based on what employees achieve, not where they are
  • Create success measures
  • Start with a trial period
  • Have multiple plans of action to battle uncertainty
  • Create a culture of accountability and personal responsibility
  • Hire the right people

Do you have the organisational and management fitness to succeed in the new normal of flexible working models?

Take the PrimeFocus™ Mini Assessment to start your journey to discover a snapshot of where you stand today and the conditions that must be in place and aligned to deliver prime performance for your tomorrow.

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