Employers need to consider flexible workers when it comes to facilities management says Kristin Hodgkinson, digital marketing manager for Direct365.
The 9-5 life isn’t for everyone, but we’ve got to make up the hours some way. Recent changes in UK legislation mean that every employer has to consider applications for flexitime from all staff with 26 weeks’ service, leading a new revolution in working hours. Late nights, early mornings and even working on a weekend; they’re all elements you need to consider when handling the upkeep of your working environment.
Although it may seem like a lot of planning and effort to accommodate their needs, the rewards are worth it. In a survey conducted by Regus, 72% of business owners and senior staff saw flexible working as a way to improve productivity. Not only could it ensure optimum performance, it may also help you to build workplace rapport with your staff. By allowing employees to work out of office hours, you’re showing you trust them to get the job done.
So, if we can harness flexible working to enhance performance, we need to first ensure we iron out any issues that may be in the way for our staff.
Access to the building
If your office is part of a complex, you’ll need to ensure that staff arriving early or leaving late will have the ability to come and go. Consult security or receptionists to ensure that there will be someone on site to let your staff in or out of the building.
Car parking space
On site and off site car parking facilities can differ price throughout the day. If your member of staff is working on a weekend, they may be charged peak-time prices for a parking space. You should find an alternative place for them to safely park their car or allow them to claim back the money through the company.
An important factor to note is the opening hours of car parks. Some will close their gates over night or on Sundays, so do your research and make sure your staff can retrieve their car at the end of their shift.
How active will the office be when your staff are in the office? You may have certain services such as cleaning and waste removal, carefully scheduled to not disturb your 9-5 staff, but what about your flexi-timers?
If your staff are staying late and the cleaners start at 6, they may feel as if they’re in the way; or that the equipment used by them, such as noisy vacuums, causes too much of a distraction. Try to schedule the third party services you use so that they are not interfering with out-of-hours staff.
Lone worker policies
Flexi-time staff can often find themselves being the only person being left in the building. From a health and safety perspective, you must ensure that all angles are covered.
- Is this person fire safety trained?
- Do you have a sign in/sign out system to register who is on site whilst you aren’t there?
- Does the workplace itself pose a threat to the employee if working alone? (e.g. operating equipment, manual handling, etc.)
- If the employee’s first language is not English, will communication be strong enough in an emergency?
The Health and Safety Executive states that employers should carefully consider all of the potential dangers a lone worker could face and deal with them accordingly. Ultimately it is your responsibility to keep them safe, regardless of whether you are on site at the same time as them or not.
You should also manage your own expectations when it comes to lone workers. Sometimes a task simply cannot be done without another person on hand. If this is the case, you may need to assess if flexi-time hours work for your business.
Compromises will have to be made on both your part and the employee’s, but in the long run flex-time staff can boost the output of your company. All that effort will be worth it in the end.
Direct365 specialise in supporting the workplace when it comes to facility management, supplies and being environmentally friendly.