Today’s work environment is radically different to that of just twenty years ago. Aside from the obvious advancements in technology, there are demographic and geographic changes that are also accelerating the need to change the way work gets done. By 2020 millennials will compose 50% of the workforce. As far as traffic goes, those of you who are familiar with Auckland won’t be surprised to hear that it’s the most congested city in Australasia. And thankfully the Labour Government set a target of achieving equal pay for women in public service by 2021 forcing employers to look at their diversity strategy.
There is a real need to embrace alternative ways of working, rather than fit the new world of work into the structures of yesterday. We spoke with a Senior Marketing Professional working in Financial Services in London to hear how they have risen to the challenge of creating a flexible workplace. Here’s more about what he had to say:
Why did your bank choose to implement a flexible working strategy?
We’ve had to evolve our approach to work to meet the ever-changing needs of employees and also our customers in the 21st century. With employees based across the UK and beyond, expensive office locations in bigger cities and the push from people to work in a more agile way, our business has implemented agile working practices over the last few years that created a stronger and more connected workforce than ever before.
What have been the benefits of becoming a flexible workplace?
There are plenty of benefits for everyone. Results can be delivered faster for customers and clients. Businesses can make massive savings on travel and property costs. The impact of the environment is reduced as a result of lowering our business and personal carbon footprint. The list goes on.
What training/support have you as a line manager needed to be able to embrace and manage flexible working within your team?
Our businesses agile working practices have been baked into our mandatory training making it compulsory for employees to understand ways of working in a modern business environment. Agile working conversations and commitments are top down meaning that our senior leaders are committed to this approach which empowers people to have constructive conversations with their line managers about the way they want to work.
What were your reservations regarding flexible working practices?
I thought the reduced face-to-face time would reduce the quality of work and relationships. However, once everyone is brought on board with agile working practices, those fears quickly subsided. In-fact the reduced face-to-face time actually makes relationships stronger because when employees are together it is more quality time than before.
What kinds of flexible working arrangements do you manage day to day within your team?
The most common forms of agile working arrangements are people working from home a couple of days of week. Other arrangements within my team are informal time shifted hours for people who have commitments outside work. One of my colleagues is in the Army Reserves and leaves earlier on a Wednesday to run a fitness training session. Another colleague is part of a theatre company that has early evening rehearsals and means travelling along way to get there, so this person leaves earlier allowing them to have a life outside of work, fulfilling something they enjoy.
What benefits have you seen within your immediate team?
Having an agile team has led to a happier team. People feel they can manage their day / week to balance the challenges of everyday life in a way that works for everyone.
What would be your number one piece of advice to another leader who is apprehensive about adopting flexible work practices?
People who are trusted and empowered to manage their time, days and weeks accordingly often do a better job, being more focused in the hours of work, than feeling forced to work the constraints of the 9 – 5. It’s not saying that if you’re in a business which ultimately relies on people to be working superficially 9 – 5 that you should allow them to work outside of this but there may be agile ways of working you can implement between these hours.
If you want to discuss how you can implement flexible working at your workplace then get in touch with the team at Freerange Works on 0800 04 FLEX or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.