Wednesday 24th August 2022
How to create a flexible work environment | Condeco

Making the transition to a flexible working environment can be a challenge. You understand the benefits it can bring, your employees are excited about the choices that will become available to them and everyone is ready to go. Now comes the hard part – implementing the new system.

At this point it’s important to make informed decisions and plan ahead to ensure that the new flexible working environment is right for your business and people. However, this is not as complicated as it might seem and here we look at the main areas you should focus on.

How to create a flexible work environment | Condeco

Speak to your team

The decision to go flexible is one that has a major impact on your people. And understanding what your people are thinking and how they view flexible opportunities is a necessary place to start before any plans are solidified.

Employee input | Condeco

Before you start making decisions about what your employees will be doing, why don’t you ask them for their input? It could be that you’re offering them choices they don’t want. Or maybe your scheme is not going to go far enough or is simply impractical for some of your colleagues. Happy employees are productive ones, and they will appreciate that their views are being considered with your choice of flexible work schedule.

Have the right equipment

Flexible working environment | Condeco

A flexible working environment requires a different set of tools and tech than one that is based purely in the office. This includes technology such as computers and screens, but also desks and chairs. For example, if you’re planning to introduce hot desking as part of your flexible working environment then make sure you have the space and capacity to deliver, especially on the most popular days.

Equipment also includes software and ways for teams to properly communicate with one another regardless of where they are. You will also need to make booking a desk or meeting space simple and seamless for office visitors.

Give options

Hopefully you’ve now talked to your staff and found out what works for each employee to help them to work at their most productive level. Imposing a one size fits all flexible working scheme may not be the best idea and offering a choice of arrangement is more likely to deliver the optimal results.

There will be those who simply prefer to spend all week in the office or at home. There will be more who want a mixture of both. Make sure that all these options are feasible, or the chances are you will have some unhappy people in your business.

Test things first

Test and learn | Condeco

Jumping feet first into a flexible working arrangement is admirably brave but not always best advised. Some flexible working options may sound great, but it’s possible that they simply won’t work for your industry, or your employees won’t like them.

If this occurs, rather than a blanket ban, go back to the drawing board and see how you can make things work for everyone. It’s okay if it doesn’t go right the first time, what’s important is that you continue to adapt and involve your staff.  Test and learn is a proven way to make things better and it’s an approach you’ll need to apply to your flexible working arrangement.

Training

Whether it’s video conferencing software or advice on running a virtual meeting, flexible working can demand skills that not every member of the team will currently possess.

Are there any skill gaps or places where people would benefit from some additional training to ensure that they are able to work most effectively?

Prioritize communication

The downfall of any business, regardless of where staff work, is often communication. When people feel like they’re being left in the dark or don’t understand your new arrangement then the chances of failure are higher.  Likewise, make sure your new arrangement does not create large gaps in how people communicate with each other, leaving some feeling isolated and others simply unable to do their job because they can’t get hold of the right people at the right time.

Consistant communication | Condeco

Emphasize that communication must remain strong and consistent across the board. Everyone has to work together to build a culture of transparency and collaboration.

Results, not hours

Depending on how you work, you may have a time tracking system in place. But rather than focus on time and hours spent glued to a screen, focus on the output of people’s days – do they get their tasks done and still to a high quality? If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be a problem where or how they work.

Zoom out and look at the big picture. Presenteeism will hopefully no longer exist in your business. Instead, look at overall productivity because that’s where the real advantages of flexible working will lie along with improved mental health and well-being amongst your workforce.

Bring everyone together

Team spirit and morale | Condeco

Flexible working does not mean everyone working at home all the time and the importance of face-face meetings will still remain especially when it comes to collaboration and idea generation.

If you can, try and encourage people to get together occasionally to keep team spirits and morale high. Working remotely shouldn’t harm productivity if you do things well, but it’s important that you still get that face time wherever you can.

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