The real barriers to creating a flexible working culture

Whether it’s to manage regular caring responsibilities or looking to flex working hours to have some work life balance, we know that employees now expect to be able to work flexibly.  Despite having flexible working policies in place and the good intentions to implement them, businesses still struggle to meet these needs…..we’ve worked out why:

1.     No business case

It’s critical that your teams understand why flexible working is important to your business and the impact it has on the bottom line.  Perhaps you’d like to reduce office overheads, fill hard to recruit critical roles or better meet your customer’s needs – whatever it is you must be clear about the rationale so everyone will get onboard.

2.     Out of date technology

We’ve all been in roles where working from home is practically a day off because you won’t be able to access all your files, join meetings remotely or deal with unexpected issues without the office infrastructure.  By ensuring you have the right technology in place, remote working can be just like a normal day in the office.

3.     The wrong performance measures

Flexible working often makes it difficult to be specific about how, where and when work is completed.  Moving to outcome based performance measures will remove this problem.  For example, setting an objective to increase customer satisfaction by 10% means you can allow your employees to determine how and when this objective is achieved around their working arrangements.

4.     Lack of trust

Not being able to see what your team members are doing on a daily basis can cause panic in even the most experienced managers.  If you have a true business case and the technology to support flexible working, along with the correct performance measures, it’s critical you now trust your teams to do the right thing – at least until they give you a good reason not to.

5.     Having an office

Some of the most successful flexible working practices are in businesses which don’t have a traditional head office set up.  It makes sense that an office with assigned desk space and meeting rooms will create an implicit expectation that employees need to structure their working week around being present there.  This set up prevents businesses and employees from looking for more effective ways of working.

Have you been struggling to establish a flexible working culture? Or perhaps there is something else not working in your business culture you’d like to address?  Get in touch, we’d love to talk to you about how our products and services can help.

Sarah BeaneComment