EPMEPM: First Person

Give Your Staff the Option to Be Flexible

A recent nominee for Australian Employee of the Year utilised an interesting policy that got Richard Taylor of REJS thinking about the restraints companies put on staff, and how best to ensure both employee satisfaction and productivity.

This particular employer put a huge emphasis on flexible working hours, and firmly believes that their company’s willingness to be accommodating, and to cater for a work environment that aims to complement each individual staff member’s unique situation, has reaped obvious and immediate rewards. Their policy has, purely and simply, been ‘just get the job done’ – they’re focused on the results, and are less concerned with the hours and times of the day that their staff are working than with the success they achieve.

Now, not every work place will suit this innovative approach, and not every staff member will thrive under such a flexible environment. Some staff members inevitably work better under stricter guidelines, with set working hours and expectations. And some staff members simply
have to be in the office Monday to Friday, nine am through five pm, to fulfil their roles.

But for others, their situation outside the office may mean they appreciate the ability to be a little versatile with the hours they work. Whether it’s family commitments, or just that they are more productive at unusual times of the day, a willingness to be open-minded and attempt to work with these preferences and circumstances, rather than against them, could be hugely beneficial.

It needn’t be an ‘all or nothing’ thing either. There may well be days or times when all staff need to attend meetings or be onsite, or it may be that certain days are designated as flexible ones, while others require everyone to be on the same page.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what they can achieve. Obviously you need to see tangible results, but ultimately, if the employee is getting the job done, maybe it doesn’t really matter if they make it to the office every day, or start some days at 6am and others at 11.

Don’t get us wrong – this isn’t letting your staff dictate their own terms – it’s being open-minded enough to work with your employees to help them achieve the best work/life balance possible. A happy worker is a productive worker, and as long as their self-discipline and drive is strong, you may well find the success that is generated as a result of your flexible thinking far exceeds that of your competitors who are more set in their ways and less open to change.

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