The future of flexible working
As businesses large and small envisage a post-coronavirus future, a balance needs to be found between what worked before and what needs to happen to succeed in the new normal. In this article Emma Cleary, founder of Flexibility Matters shares her view on how organisations need to think differently about flexible working.
The COVID pandemic has certainly forced us to think completely differently about how we work and proved that we can and should embrace change. With 79% of workers wanting more flexibility in how and where they work and 77% wanting a mix of office-based and remote working*, businesses now, more than ever, are required to develop and engage an agile and high performing workforce.
Ursula Tavender, founder of Taking Care of Business & Mumbelievable, Anna Rasmussen, founder of OpenBlend and I recently shared our insights in a WebEx on how to productively manage a blended environment of remote and office-based teams.
Pulling together best practice and case study wisdom pre-COVID, and insights learnt throughout the pandemic, together we have developed a new roadmap to help businesses thrive in this new world of work.
Surviving the pandemic by embracing new ways of working has uncovered wisdoms that cannot be ignored. Unleashing the power of the people of an organisation – giving them the tools to work remotely or flexibly has increased their productivity, efficiency and motivation. It’s revealed how resilient organisations can be and how efficient they can become by taking on a different, and flexible approach.
During the WebEx, the team laid out the key must-haves for businesses to be able to manage blended teams, as well as maintain a flexible and productive working culture:
1.Workspaces and style.
Adopting an agile mindset about where and when work happens is key. As is embracing a personalised blend of virtual, remote, and in-real-life collaboration that considers individual working preferences. This allows people to be the best they can be in their deliverables for both work and life.
2. Flex working enabling tech.
Optimise the use and training of Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Zoom, Open Chat etc, giving teams and managers the confidence to choose for themselves how best to achieve deliverables. Its important to remember there is no one size fits al, and setting individuals up to be successful based on their work style preferences engages and empowers them to bring their best selves to work.
3. Cloud-based performance management.
Choosing a performance management tool that supports both managers and individuals to get the best out of each other remotely, as well as in the office, is key to managing a modern workforce. Anna Rasmussen’s OpenBlend performance management tool is not only ideal for managing remote workers, as it’s cloud-based, but it’s also people-centered, and acknowledges what individuals need to be their most productive.
4. Inclusion and equality.
The pandemic has revealed much about gender bias, so businesses need to embrace flexibility as an opportunity to make work more inclusive and equal for EVERYONE.
5. Make flexibility stick.
Agree a micro-culture for each team in the form of a flexible working team charter which will unite, empower and equip teams to work in a variety of flexible ways, whilst managing their wellbeing.
The benefits of an agreed flexible team charter include:
Identifies needs and fosters commitment: Enabling individual buy-in builds a culture of trust and communication with individuals feeling supported whatever their position.
Aligns people and purpose: Collaborative agreements are made based on what each team needs to deliver, considering what works for the individual and company.
Ensures success: Results are focussed on outcomes over hours worked and an agreed way to measure and manage performance remotely or in the office.
*Source: The Adecco Group
Don’t miss out on Brighton Chamber’s Webinar ‘The rise and fall of the office and re-shaping work’ September 30th. 3-5 pm where Emma Cleary will be part of the discussion on managing remote teams, flexibility, blended teams, support for remote workers, well-being, and more.
More about Flexibility Matters
Flexibility Matters specialises in flexible working and, over the past 6 years, actively promoted that business change. If you’re looking to recruit flexibly or you’re a professional looking for a flexible career role, get in touch.
Enjoyed The Future of Flexible Working? Why not read Emma Clearys’ Coming out of Lockdown