Resource type: Top tip
10 Top Tips for Successful Flexible Working
Flexible working can be a great way to help your business improve productivity, reduce operating costs and boost staff morale and motivation. These top tips will help you to plan the best approach to flexible working for your company.
1. Start with your business strategy
Take an objective look at your overall plans for your business, how it is operating now and how it will change in the future. Assess how flexible working would fit into the bigger picture and the ways in which it could help your business. Review which specific roles within your team would benefit from flexible working. Evaluate the improvements it could bring to your business and weigh these against the costs of implementation and the ongoing running costs.
2. Review your Broadband connection
To have streamlined communications and fast data sharing, you need a Superfast Broadband connection that will meet your needs now and in the future. Make sure that your service provider can guarantee the capacity that you need to get the best results from flexible working.
3. Plan your communications platforms
Superfast Broadband can enable a Unified Communications (UC) system to integrate all your data, voice and mobile communications. Consider setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will allow all your remote working staff to have secure access to your IT system – as if they were based at your head office. As part of this, review your security policies so that they cover the new ways of working.
4. Take advantage of cloud computing
The combination of Superfast Broadband with cloud computing means that your teams can have access to the latest applications and programmes – and that you only pay for the services you need, without having to pay up front for new software or hardware. Think about those applications that you may want to outsource to the cloud.
5. Prepare your teams
Make sure you train your people to get them ready for the change in working practices and that you give clear guidelines about the new way of working, so they know what is expected of them. Once you have made the move to flexible working, stay in regular contact with all your team members so that you can monitor their progress and help with any issues that may arise.
6. Use the latest software tools
There is a range of useful applications that can make flexible working more effective. Some of these are available free, others can be bought in on a fee or subscription basis. Take time to understand the tools available and select the platforms that are right for your business. For example, Workfront is a project management platform that helps you assign tasks, set deadlines and monitor the progress of your team. WebEx is a sophisticated tool for conducting online meetings and presentations, while also sharing content across your teams.
7. Encourage teamwork and interaction
Maintain a strong team culture by having regular opportunities to discuss and exchange ideas. Applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts offer a useful way of conducting online team meetings to keep everyone focused on their goals. In addition, set up a schedule of regular face to face meetings, to help with team bonding and to avoid the isolation that can occur when people are working remotely.
8. Consider bought in services
Superfast Broadband allows you to access support services on a pay-as-you-go basis, which can help support the move to flexible working, without having to take extra staff on to the payroll. There are companies that can offer virtual administration and virtual bookkeeping, which mean that you can scale these resources according to your specific needs at any point in time.
9. Be aware of your legal responsibilities
Even when staff work from home, you still have legal responsibilities as an employer for this place of work. So you will need to conduct the normal health and safety risk assessments and ensure that standard workplace procedures such as accident reporting and first aid training are still carried out. You should also have suitable insurances in place to cover public liability and any company equipment that your staff are using at home.
10. Adopt a new way of managing your teams
You will not be able to watch your staff at work, so you need to learn to concentrate on their deliverables. This requires a different approach, which is sometimes called ‘management by output’ rather than ‘management by eyeball.’ In order to get the best results from flexible working, you need to let go of micro-management, learn to trust your teams, and empower them to work to their full potential.
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