If the global pandemic of 2020 has taught employers anything, then it has shown them that working from home can become a real way of working for many organisations. Of course, there are instances when face-to-face interactions are necessary in many walks of life. The various lockdowns that have been imposed around much of the globe have shown basic human resilience in the face of contagion and the ability to work on regardless.
That said, some organisations have always embraced more flexible working structures.
In some places of work, it is the obvious thing to do. And yet, for others, the ability to work different hours from the norm, to work from home or the office and to balance home pressures with work-life remain a challenge. The fact is that nearly all businesses can make a flexible working reality with the right sort of investment in modern workforce management software. Not only does it enable flexible working but it adds value to organisations that adopt it. How?
With the right kind of remote worker time tracking system in place, managers never have to worry about employee absences going unnoticed or unrecorded. Indeed, because home-based workers have to log in, their presence is recorded automatically, thereby helping HR teams to run in a more streamlined way. With suitable workforce management software in place, it also means managers can keep tabs on their teams without needing to be in the office. It means both supervisors and workers can choose to come to the office, work from home or log on from anywhere else that is suitable for that matter. Bear in mind that all of this works in real-time enabling managers to more effectively spot any deliberate slacking than they could even expect if everyone were in the same building together.
Time Allocation Systems
Dealing with one of the perceived downsides of flexible working – unauthorised absences – is one thing, but good remote worker software offers many more positives. To begin with, it will allow managers to allocate their resources in a much more fluid manner. If you need a project to be delivered on time, then having workers idle while they are waiting for particular tasks to be completed is inefficient and often costly. With a proper time allocation system, you can line tasks up for workers so they are working more synchronously with each other. Bear in mind that this can function on a 24-hour basis if you want, thereby allowing workers total flexibility when they work. Indeed, you could have people in different time zones working quite happily with one another if you allocate tasks in this way with software that is designed for the job.
Improve Morale and Staff Retention
There can be little doubt that most employees like flexible working patterns. Even those workers who do not avail of the opportunity to work condensed hours to give themselves every second Friday off, for example, appreciate that they work for an organisation that affords them this luxury. Therefore, implementing a flexible working regime in your workplace need not necessarily be all about change for change’s sake. Some people will quite happily carry on as they were, enjoying work during normal office hours or shift patterns. Nevertheless, the ability to reorganise things for a special occasion is likely to go down well with employees. It also means staff turnover rates are likely to drop as workers realise they are onto a good thing.
Handling Special Skills
In some enterprises, it is relatively straightforward to move from enforced home working in the lockdown period to more flexible working in the future. However, it is not always that simple for some larger organisations which may have very specific skill requirements in certain departments or during project delivery phases. If that applies to your organisation, then you should not let it be a brake on adopting flexible working practices where they are possible.
Today’s generation of employee scheduling software will allow senior managers to organise their teams in a variety of ways that are dependent on their particular skill requirements. For example, you might need to always ensure you have a minimum number of workers with a particular skill available at your headquarters. With the right software, you can arrange this and do so in a way that all workers will recognise is fair. Staff who aren’t at work will be able to work remotely. Remember that you can pilot such schemes to make sure they truly benefit your organisation before putting them into practice fully.
Sabbaticals and Extended Leave
Working in the field or from home is a great way to improve productivity while still delivering key skills for your customers. What do you do when employees want to take extended leave, however?
In some organisations, it has not always been possible to allow six-month sabbaticals, for example. Nevertheless, extended flexible working arrangements that allow for such absences can make up a key part of your strategy. Consequently, employees can enjoy an extended period of leave which means they will return. The alternative, simple denying them sabbatical requests, is more likely to lead to their resignation in many cases. Therefore, offering this sort of leave because you have the software that allows you to adapt makes a lot of sense. Bear in mind that large organisations have to offer this degree of flexibility for things like long-term illness and parental leave, so it is about extending such practices to be of benefit to all workers, not just those in certain categories. Indeed, numerous businesses find that offering occasional unpaid extended leave actually improves their team dynamic rather than diminishing it.