How often do you consider your employees’ work-life balance? Phil Foster, director at Love Energy Savings, says bosses struggling to take into account their own balance may bypass the notion altogether.
The new legislation on flexible working should prompt us to carefully consider the needs of our employees. Every application for flexible working hours must be reviewed from both the employer’s and employee’s perspective.
We’re often told how great this will be for employees that need to break away from the 9-5 due to other commitments, and yet again we fail to take into account what effect this will have on our lives and our business. At Love Energy Savings, we’ve actually seen many positive benefits from implementing flexible hours for those who make legitimate requests. Surprisingly, there are plenty of great reasons to shake up your regular working hours. Here’s what we’ve noticed.
This is of course an obvious point, but important nonetheless. We often underestimate the reality behind the decisions our employees make when coming forward to request flexible working hours. In most cases, they simply cannot work in their current pattern due to unavoidable commitments. Perhaps they need to pick their children up from school, attend regular health appointments or care for a loved-one. If they cannot continue to work with you and you can’t make changes for them, they will have to leave their position.
Allowing an employee to work when perhaps you aren’t around, or even from their own home and not in direct contact with you, builds trust and leads to growth in rapport. Not only will this build their self-motivation, but also their own self-worth as they begin to tackle tasks head on with more authority.
If your employee would like to work from home, you are more likely to notice immediate changes in their productivity. Instead of the taxing commute they used to take in the morning, they’ll be able to make the easy transition into ‘work mode’ and spend more time on tasks that would be lost on travel.
Statistics also show that employers find that the level of productivity from those that work from home is improved in the long term. A survey conducted by Harris/Decima showed that 87% of employees in Canada who have ever worked remotely responded that they are just as productive, if not more so, when working away from the office – we would agree!
Out-of-hours client services
If you arrange for an employee to come in later in the morning and stay behind after 5pm, your clients will have the opportunity to contact them after hours. This is particularly good for business-to-business traders, as your clients are likely to be too busy to chase issues during their own work hours. Staggering hours is a fantastic way to meet client expectations and can be harnessed in a way that offers better quality of service.
Attracting new talent
If you explicitly state that you’re open to accepting flexible working requests, you may find it easier to attract new talent in recruitment drives. Being open to flexible working could mean that talent from further afield applies for the job and you have a better response to job advertisements.
Maintaining an employee’s work-life balance should be one of your main concerns. We’ve already touched on how easy it is to bypass this important issue, but when it comes to flexible hours, you need to take everything into consideration. We immediately noticed a more positive attitude from employees who were less pressured regarding their work/home life commitments. The happiness certainly passed through the office to other team members and the working environment became more positive.
There may come a time when one of your employees unfortunately suffers from a serious accident or illness. In this case, they may ask to work from home whilst they recover. If you refuse, you may find that their recovery time is lengthened and their quality of work declines. This will also inevitably make work relationships suffer.
If a member of staff comes into work ill and forces themselves to keep up with the demands of office life, their work may be of poor quality. Giving them time to recover and work from home shows that you understand their predicament and lets them know they are still a valuable asset to the company.
Keep in regular contact
Of course, you don’t simply accept a request and leave things at that, we conduct catch-up meetings with our staff to make sure things are working well for both parties. It won’t work for everyone and sometimes a few extra changes need to be made, but once you make the amendments, you could potentially benefit from high productivity and excellent co-worker relations.
Main image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/infocux/
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