Adopting Flexible Working
Let’s put it out there right up front. Reducing costs after a difficult trading year for most businesses is a necessity. UK businesses are keen to shed some of their office space and use third-party facilities instead, often closer to where the staff actually live. There are also increasing environmental factors too which will help companies and staff cut unnecessary business travel and increase productivity.
The realities of the past year have shown that flexible working can and has – largely- worked. Long journeys for short meetings have been eliminated with video conferencing. Productivity hasn’t decreased but seemingly has improved by between 10%-14% in the Uk according to a Capgemini survey.
Long term adoption of flexible or ‘hybrid’ working is a serious option for many leading businesses.
Nationwide is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme.
The UK’s biggest building society said its “work anywhere” plan would allow employees more control of their lives.
Under the plan, Nationwide is closing three offices in Swindon, with 3,000 staff either moving to the nearby HQ, working from home, or mixing the two.
Other UK staff may be able to work from their local High Street branch if they prefer, rather than travel to offices.
In a Nationwide survey of staff, 57% said they wanted to work from home full-time after lockdown ends. More than a third – 36% – said they preferred a mix of home and office-based work.
BP has told office-based staff they will be expected to spend two days a week working from home after lockdown restrictions ease.
The oil giant said in meetings last month that most would be asked to work from home 40% of the time, or two days a week for full-time employees.
The new “hybrid” work model will affect 25,000 BP staff, with 6,000 in the UK.
British Airways will let staff split their working lives between the head office and home in another example of big firms offering flexible employment.
The airline is also exploring the sale of its huge Waterside HQ near Heathrow Airport, where 2,000 people worked before the coronavirus lockdown.
Whist there are early indications that remote working benefits businesses and their employees a cautious approach should be considered. A study commissioned by a leading intelligent learning platform has revealed that more than two thirds (67%) of workers in the UK feel ‘disconnected’ from their colleagues and four fifths (80%) have spoken to their manager once in the last 10 days.
Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, commented on a Microsoft report: “The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the biggest homeworking experiment we have ever seen in the UK. However, this is not homeworking in normal times. Much of this experience has been enforced homeworking and many people have been dealing with a range of additional pressures and anxieties. It is therefore crucial that line managers ensure people are not overworking and provide flexibility and support to anyone struggling with any aspect of working from home.
“Senior leaders need to role model the behaviours they expect of others and businesses focus more on equipping managers with the people management skills they need to manage and support home and remote workers. Employers also need to do more to provide more flexible working opportunities to people whose jobs mean they can’t work from home through greater use of practices such as flexi-time, job sharing and compressed and annualised hours.”
Nearly one in three people reported an increase in their hours while working from home
The CIPD recommends four areas of focus for UK organisations and people professionals:
- Support hybrid workers through good people management – Design work processes that suit all locations, concentrating particularly on knowledge-sharing, coordination of work and team relationships to encourage performance and innovation
- Ensure fairness of opportunity – Provide ongoing access to development and career conversations for all employees
- Put health and wellbeing front and centre – Ensure that employees are not overworking and remind them about the importance of maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing and taking regular breaks, fresh air and exercise
- Offer a range of broader flexible working options – Go beyond remote working and look at introducing wider flexible working options like job shares, compressed hours and flexible start and finish times. Support flexibility from the start by recruiting flexibly and making the right to request Flexible Working a day one right.
Striking the balance will be the challenge for 2021.
So where do we fit in? Retell offer call recording solutions for businesses to keep calls compliant and quality monitored. From a small number of users to the integration of platforms that support thousands of users, we’ve been providing call recording technology for over 30 years.
To find out more, please get in touch with our call recording experts.
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