How to deal with large scale flexible working arrangements

How to deal with large scale flexible working arrangements

  • Date: Wednesday 18th March 2020
  • PDF: Download

With the government appealing to people to work from home if they can, many employers are now exploring different flexi-working options. For many this throws up a whole host of new challenges, such as:

  • Technical gaps in infrastructure
  • Being able to monitor productivity
  • Mental health impact of working in isolation
  • Managing staff from a distance

It is worth remembering that these are unprecedented times and we will all have to ‘play it by ear’ when it comes to finding new ways of working.

  • Advise employees of exactly what it is they are expected to do when working from home. Is their job description still the same? Will their output still be measured in the same way? Remember that, even when they are in the office, you don’t check in with people on an hourly basis – this should not have to be different if they work from home.
  • Consider data protection issues. Are employees working with sensitive materials and if so, is access restricted? At the very least, confidential materials should be stored away from children and visitors, in an ideal scenario they should be locked away.
  • What methods of communication are in place for staff? Be inventive! You might want to establish a video link between colleagues so they can work while seeing each other. Or maybe encourage staff to check in during lunch or their tea break for a quick catch-up. Streamlining communication by identifying a preferred method is important to avoid digital burnout.
  • Is the workspace at home suitable? For those without office space, working from the couch or the kitchen table can over a period of time cause eye strain and repetitive strain. You may wish to re-issue DSE guidance to your staff, so they can assess their set-up and make adjustments as required.
  • Employees will want regular updates on how you are handling working arrangements and how the business is impacted by the economic climate. Don’t sugar-coat information and be as honest as you can. Provide solutions and ask for feedback – maintaining regular and open communication is vital when managing a dispersed workforce.
  • If your staff are working from home while taking care of their children due to school closures, consider having a conversation around working reduced hours or flexible hours that allow after-dinner or early-morning working. It is highly unlikely that any individual will be able to efficiently continue working, while also caring for children or relatives.

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Source: Manuela Grossmann

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