A Guide to Flexible Working to Improve Employee Engagement
Published by Beatrice Speck
8 November 2023
Before 2020, flexible working was still considered a competitive advantage, however in recent times, not offering flexibility can result in a loss of talent and engagement.
In our research with Alexforbes, 'Beyond the Paycheck', results found that:
62% of respondents agreed that flexible working schemes significantly improve their work-life balance
Over a quarter (27%) of people disagreed that their organisation had a competitive flexible working offering
Just under half of respondents (43%) could benefit from more clear and consistent communication about what flexibility is offered
“Better flexible working options” was the most popular selected workplace initiative that could be implemented to improve respondents’ wellbeing.
The report went in-depth about exactly why employees like flexible working, such as higher concentration levels and no commute, read the report here to go into the results in more detail.
A Guide to Flexible Working to Improve Employee Engagement
Define flexible working in your business:
Better clarity on job descriptions and in recruitment processes around what flexible working is offered could be an opportunity for better attraction and retention in a market where competition for recruitment and retention is fierce. In addition to our research, the UK government and jobs website ‘Indeed’, revealed in their report that offering flexible working arrangements on recruitment campaigns increased job applications by 30%.
Tip: Define flexible working, is it remote work, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, or job sharing? Also, specify the number of days employees can work from home.
Communicate flexible working offerings:
Offering training to managers on how to communicate and manage flexible working could help an organisation become more competitive. Provide managers with support and training so they feel empowered to offer it and better communicate it. Managing based on outputs rather than visibility is one of the major shifts to be made.
Tip: Conduct regular goal-setting and review meetings to maintain alignment between employees and managers, and ask:
Are there any challenges you face while working remotely, such as connectivity issues or distractions?
How is your work-life balance when working flexibly, and are there any changes or adjustments needed?
Invest in Technology
Provide employees with the necessary tools and technology to facilitate remote work effectively. These technology tools can significantly contribute to enhancing communication, collaboration, productivity, and employee engagement.
Communication and Collaboration Tools:
Video Conferencing: Zoom and Microsoft Teams facilitate face-to-face remote meetings, promoting personal connections, improving communication, collaboration, and teamwork engagement. Example: A team member attending a conference abroad can dial into their weekly board meeting to connect face-to-face, discuss strategies, and make decisions efficiently.
Project Management: Trello and Asana enhance remote task management, boosting productivity and collaboration. Example: In the construction sector, project managers, architects, engineers, and contractors can use video conferencing for project updates, progress reviews, safety meetings, and real-time problem-solving.
Instant Messaging and Collaboration: Slack supports real-time communication, for timely support and issue resolution. Example: Staff managing reservations in a different location to hotel staff, can use instant messaging to address guest requests and room reservations efficiently, enhancing the guest experience and hotel operations.
Document Collaboration: Google Docs, Microsoft 365, and Notion streamline real-time document collaboration, reducing in-person meetings and enhancing efficiency. Example: Law firms can collaborate on legal documents, contracts, and case materials, enabling lawyers and legal professionals to work on cases together and improve legal services.
Effective performance management in flexible work settings is vital for goal-setting, feedback, and development. It provides a structured approach to support remote workers. SuccessFactors, a robust system, streamlines goal setting, feedback, and performance reviews while promoting recognition and positive work culture, regardless of location.
eLearning platforms are essential for flexible work environments, offering diverse courses and personalised learning paths. LinkedIn Learning and Coursera, as leading providers, offer many libraries of courses and certifications, enabling remote and flexible workers to continuously enhance their skills and stay competitive on their own schedules.
Employee feedback platforms, such as Anova, are crucial for communication and engagement in a flexible work environment. These tools gather feedback to comprehend employee concerns, opinions, and satisfaction, guiding data-driven improvements to enhance the working experience, whether working remotely or flexibly, even without physical office interactions.
Revamp workplaces with quiet and collaborative spaces to encourage office presence. As businesses reduce flexible work, wellbeing benefits are lost. Instead of mandating office return, incentivise while preserving choice.
To thrive in today's competitive job market, it's important for businesses to define and communicate their flexible working policies, invest in technology to support remote work, and adapt their workplace environments to cater to evolving employee needs.
Take immediate action and consider leveraging Anova, our dedicated feedback platform, to enhance employee engagement, make data-driven decisions, and embrace the future of work. Contact us now to discuss how we can support your team improve wellbeing and engagement with initiatives such as flexible working!