Facilitating flexible working in your business

By Neil Dickins


Since Covid-19, the ability to work flexibly is a key consideration for UK employees.

In fact, the majority (86.5%) of professionals in the UK think that every business should offer flexible working. Some businesses have gone a step further and introduced four day working weeks and seen a rise in productivity because of it.

This means there’s more pressure on employers to facilitate flexible working patterns in their businesses. Especially if they want to attract the very best candidates to their roles.

But how should you go about it?

To help you out, we provide our top tips for introducing flexible working to your business, below.

Decide how flexible you’re willing to be

Flexible working can refer to a whole host of different working patterns. Perhaps it involves employees starting earlier to finish earlier, the ability to work from home, or working longer hours each day so they can have a certain day off each week.

Deciding what you can realistically facilitate in your business is key. For example, it might be that you need a certain amount of employees in the office to deal with customer demands, so having employees work different hours won’t work.

Every company is different so it’s important to figure out what’s best for you. You could even conduct a staff survey, to find out what would benefit them the most.........................................................

Set up a process that works

Once you’ve built an understanding of the above, it’s now time to implement a process that works. This needs to include how an employee should go about asking for flexible working, how far in advance they need to ask their manager and so on.

For example, it may be that you want your employees to let you know when they’ll be working from home at the beginning of the week. You may even want them to stick to the same day every week.

Whatever it may be, putting rules in place early on can help to keep it transparent and ensures that you know where your employees will be and when. This can help to make the transition from traditional working patterns, to flexible ones, much easier.

Trust your employees

There’s no point introducing flexible working if you don’t actually trust your employees. After all, you need to rest assured that they’ll complete their daily tasks in the hours they work and that they aren’t getting distracted when working from home.

Flexible working can only really work when the trust is there. Otherwise, an employer’s constant interference and checking in will only annoy the worker in question and possibly make them look for work, elsewhere. Trust is fundamental in building a company culture for success.

Implement the necessary technology

It goes without saying that technology is important for flexible workers. Especially if working from home or on the move. Ensure that your employees are able to access their emails remotely and consider rolling out an instant messaging platform for staff to communicate through.

Alongside this, video conference technology can help to bring everyone together when face-to-face interaction isn’t possible. Most platforms offer the ability to share files and presentations too, so it’s worth considering what your business will need.


Encourage communication

Good communication is crucial in any business. Not least when people are working from home and can’t just pop over to each other’s desk to ask a question.

As part of establishing a process that works, ensure that your employees are communicating with one another and letting them know when they’re in and out of the office.

This is important, especially when employees are working on different projects together. After all, you wouldn’t want deadlines to be missed, just because your staff aren’t communicating with one another.

Facilitating flexible working in your business 

Overall, introducing flexible working can help to improve productivity and wellbeing across your organisation (and it’s worth looking at how you can boost productivity at work too). However, it’s not something that can just be put in place over night.

You need to consider how the process is going to work and ensure that employees will have the tools they need to get their work done.

Above all, having trust in your workforce is crucial for facilitating flexible working. The more you believe in your staff, the more they’ll enjoy working for you.