Home Working and the Return To The Workplace

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As working from home has become more widespread as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic, I thought it is timely to refer to one of our research studies again.  

As CEO of FlexTime, I have always felt a responsibility to match my enthusiasm for flexible working, by providing accurate and impartial research for our customers.   On one such study was with the City University – London, and was carried out amongst 1,000 employees using our VisionTime system across public and private sector bodies in Ireland and the UK.     

The method of accessing the questionnaire was a via a link on our VisionTime software screen. This is where, each day, employees record time and generally manage their flexible working lives.  The focus of the study was on issues such as employees’ preferences for the type of flexible working that works for them – for instance, home working, mobile working, flexible hours, job sharing and so on.    

We found that when people are happy with their flexible work arrangement, their wellbeing and job satisfaction improves.  

What makes an employee happy with their flexible work arrangement?

The answer is: it’s different for everyone. There are many factors influencing the way people manage their work and home lives (including their own preferences for how they like to work and the various competing demands, which they are juggling).   

Our research also found that, regardless of your flexible working preferences, if you have a sense of control over how you manage your work and home life, your wellbeing and job satisfaction will improve.     

What can we conclude from this?  

Everyone’s relationship with flexible working is different but one thing is consistent – the sense of control over work and home demands, that comes about when working flexibly – is the linchpin that makes it work. 

Due to recent experiences brought on by Covid 19, staff and managers are already in change mode, albeit in a forced way.  They have had a sudden exposure to the pros and cons of home working.  So, with that recently gained experience, now is actually a very good time to engage on different types of flexible working arrangements.  But you might be wondering where to start.  

Our Advice?

1) Give employees the opportunity to work out and say what arrangement works best for them  

2) Though Working From Home may seem the “flavour of the day”, keep an open mind on the type of flexibility which might be suggested by an employee and which you might agree to.   

3)  Once agreed, allow staff some autonomy in managing it 

And don’t forget this is where we at Flextime can help.  Our system is designed to enable people to manage such arrangements, irrespective of how diverse they might be.   

In addition, we have 40 years of experience in advising organisations on how to make sure the human side of the flexible working process works!  

In my next blog, I will cover how our time system can act as a daily intermediary between staff and managers, so as to make all of this sustainable for the longer term.   In addition, we have expert advisors ready to help you on every step along the way.   

So, look out for my next blog, coming soon, entitled …. “How to avoid my Workplace Flexibility becoming your Workplace Stress!” 

Ciaran Rowsome