What’s behind the flexibility buzz?

Several weeks have now passed since the so called “Freedom Day” and Flexibility, Hybrid and Remote continue to be buzzwords of the moment. We see and hear them every day, but what do they mean for individual organisations and how do they impact the workplace?

The return to work and how it takes shape is still at an experimental stage for many and people are concerned with how “the buzz” will actually impact them. Many organisations are going beyond the words and taking flexible working seriously, with a desire to deliver real choice on when, where and how work takes place. There is now a golden opportunity to create the optimum conditions for success for both employer and employee.

Whatever decision is reached, the chances are your organisation will not be returning to pre-pandemic ways of work and some degree of flexibility will exist. For some, this may mean a ‘work from home’ day each week, whilst others will go much further, saying they don’t mind where work takes place, giving individuals the freedom to create a schedule that suits them.

During 18 months of stop/start remote working, many organisations seized the opportunity to wave goodbye to the office and a 9-5 work pattern. For these organisations, flexible working is here to stay. Improvements to health and well-being were a notable benefit, with time previously spent on commuting used for family time, working out or simply enjoying a relaxed morning coffee. What became apparent is that great work can be achieved anywhere. By being flexible and adaptive, teams arrived at arrangements that worked for everyone. Plus, management was more than happy to equip employees to work from home and slash operating costs.

One of the biggest workforce-related challenges for any employer is the question of how to support staff to combine work with family life. Remote/home working as a permanent arrangement is now in demand, especially amongst caregivers, yet some managers remain unsure about flexible working. They argue that bringing staff together has the benefit of fostering collaboration and culture, which can be especially helpful for new starters and the less experienced. What should also be considered is the actual ability to offer flexible working; for example, it is a challenging concept to implement in the care sector. What should also be taken into account is that remote/home working does not suit everyone, with some finding it hard to remain motivated and engaged. Added in to the mix are those that don’t want to ditch the office entirely and who would welcome an occasional opportunity to spend time interacting with colleagues.

What’s behind the flexibility buzz?

For the flexible working model to succeed it is obvious that a range of factors need to be considered. And, whilst each organisation decides what is best for them, the situation for many remains experimental and fluid. Hybrid working offers choice and flexibility that can lead to a motivated and engaged staff. It will also deliver on the health and well being benefits that can be derived from a trip to the office, a meeting with colleagues or a chance to do the school run. Empowering people with the choice of where, how and when to work could ensure they are more happy and productive than they have ever been. With the freedom to work in a way that suits the individual, hybrid working is the compromise that will define the future of work. An inclusive environment where people can work from home, at the office or remotely – with individual choice for balancing work and family life – is the reality behind the buzzwords.

With four decades of experience, Frontier Software is an established provider of global Human Capital Management (HCM) software solutions across the public sector. The ichris software suite is functionally rich and highly configurable, with modules delivering an integrated platform across all touch points of HCM. Deployment options include cloud based or on-premise and, for payroll, outsourced services. To maximise the benefits of flexible working, Frontier Software offers a range of tools that will enable staff to be productive anytime/anywhere including Onboarding software and a Mobile HR app.

Keywords: Hybrid Flexibility Remote Agile Empowerment Engaged Well being

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