It is extraordinary how the pandemic has challenged long held views. I remember some years ago trying to persuade a chief executive that flexible working would improve the organisation’s capacity and motivate staff to be more productive. He was ‘old school’ in that if he couldn’t see staff in the office then he didn’t think they would be working effectively.
Varying reports based on research during the pandemic show that around 70% of people would be happy to continue working from home once the pandemic is over.
While a number of people felt the new way of working was foisted on them, a number quickly realised that the end of the long commute was a good thing, that report they have on the whole been more productive. However, each individual is different and the challenge, from a people management perspective, is to ensure there is a way of balancing individuals’ desire for flexible and virtual working as well as keeping the organisation profitable and on target
Hafton has supported a number of its clients with on-line questionnaires to gauge the ‘mood music’ of the return to the office and what arrangement they believe will work in the future. Most of them have opted for a blended approach, allowing staff to work partly from home and partly in the office, hence heralding a new vlex-ible (virtual and flexible) work environment.
So how can you make your organisation more vlex-ible? Firstly, you need to have a culture of managing performance by output and not the number of hours someone works; secondly you need to have a clear plan to manage the flexible working arrangements in the business so that the work is covered.