Thursday 14th December 2017

The festive season can often have an adverse effect on the workplace – employees may lose focus, days off mean less productivity overall, and distractions abound. This is where the idea of flexible working comes in. Flexible working, is improving employees’ productivity, along with individuals’ work/life balance.

Considering the benefits of flexible working styles, the festive season may be the perfect time to experiment and introduce varied flexibility to the workplace. Here are four easy ways to do this:

1. Working from home

Allowing employees to work from home across the holidays and New Year makes sense for many businesses; staff may need to be at home for various reasons, and are likely to be no less motivated than if they were in the office (which is likely half-empty), plus decreased stress levels are also a positive attribute for increasing collaboration and producivity.

To create a successful home working policy, even if only temporary, you must ensure that everyone is aware of what is expected. This means strong communication and agreed-upon targets. You must also make sure that technology won’t be an issue; does everyone have access to the tools they need? A little pre-planning will go a long way, and the idea of working from home will likely be positive for most.

2. Flexible hours

It is possible that flexible hours may already be in place within your workplace during festivities, just in an informal way. Consider making a more structured bid for flexible hours, particularly for employees who may have no choice but to manage responsibilities over public holidays. Flexible hours can mean either employees choosing their own hours, or allowing them to ‘earn back’ time in lieu. Which is best for your business?

Again, a large part of effectively introducing a flexible working policy is ensuring everyone is aware of what is (and isn’t) expected of them, so be sure to bring communication to the front and centre.

3. Open and collaborative spaces

A flexible approach to work does not always mean attendance or working hours – sometimes it can apply to workspace instead. The festive period is the perfect time to experiment with office layout or working spaces, perhaps encouraging employees to try out more informal or collaborative working areas.

For example, breakout spaces can be useful here, particularly if many teams are working with only skeleton staff; allowing everyone to work next to each other can make them feel more social, rather than feeling like half the office is missing.

4. Desk sharing

Finally, if many employees are absent over the Christmas period, it may be a good time to introduce a desk sharing policy. By cutting down on areas of the office used, you can potentially save on overhead business costs, so for some, it may be efficient to consolidate areas of usage and implement a desk booking system so that space that is available is used most effectively.

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