An internet search on the business benefits of having happy employees throws up enough reading to last a lifetime! Hundreds of research projects tell the same story – that happy employees are great news for your business.
Happy employees stay longer, work smarter, are more committed, take more responsibility and are more productive and creative. They need less management, they support their colleagues – and customers love them because they provide better service because they’re, well, happy! In a nutshell, happy employees save you money and make you money.
Did you know that flexible working tops the wishlist for employees working in UK SMEs? In a 2018 study by financial advisers Drewberry, 42% of respondents desired flexible working arrangements above any other employment benefit.
So, what does flexible working actually mean? Flexible working is working outside a normal working pattern which is typically in the same place each day during the same hours. Flexible working is a way to work that suits your employees’ needs and may suit your business needs too.
Remote working is a type of flexible working which means working from anywhere and has become possible and a lot more common due to advances in IT. With today’s technology, it’s never been easier to work away from the office – there’s a host of great, simple to use tools, such as Office 365, SharePoint, OneNote, Skype and many more – and, in the cloud, you can securely store and access everything you need to work 24/7. In fact, remote working has resulted in 13% performance increase (Institute of Leadership & Management Research) – so it is a huge benefit to businesses.
So, if flexible working makes employees happy – and happy employees are gold dust, there’s no time to lose! If you’re considering flexible and remote working arrangements for your people, what are the key things to consider? Here’s what I say when our customers ask me that very question:
Firstly, prepare a business case examining the pros and cons, analysing the costs and benefits of implementing flexible working in your business
Decide how much flexibility and remote working that you want to introduce and what suits your business. For example, remote working will probably suit a small, client-facing consultancy business more than a mid-sized manufacturer
Talk to everyone who you think is interested, or would benefit from being able to work remotely. There isn’t a one size fits all strategy
Communicate your decisions to all your staff
If you’re concerned about losing control or visibility of your people, then set ground rules, times when they will be in the office or available electronically and, most importantly, agree ways of measuring their productivity to ensure they meet their targets
Talk to your IT support partner about the technology best suited for your needs, the most cost-effective way of introducing it and the training available to make the most of it
If you’d like to speak to us about successfully introducing or extending your flexible and remote working arrangements, call us on 03300 886116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal and confidential chat.