It has been one year since the Government rolled flexible working out to all UK employees, but research suggests that employers are still not quite sure how to manage it.
A recent survey by workingmums.co.uk found that over a fifth of working mothers believed that they had no choice but to leave their jobs after their employer denied their request for flexible working. The survey also found that 38% of mothers currently on maternity leave believe that they would not be able to return to work if they are unable to work flexibly.
There were 2,300 respondents to the survey.
A separate report by Timewise found that 14.1 million people, or almost half of the working population of Britain, are interested in the possibility of flexible working. Despite this their research found that companies are failing to take flexible working seriously. Out of 3.5 million job adverts the company looked at, only 6.2% of those that offered a salary high enough to live on (the full time equivalent of £20,000 per annum or higher) mentioned anything about flexibility.
So why are employers failing to embrace flexible working?
A combination of elements are required to make flexible working a success. These include good communication, technology, a formal process, and trust. Larger organisations should have the resources to manage all of this but a smaller business may struggle.
We’ve outlined a few key points for you to consider:
- Agree a working schedule with your employee which sets out timelines or deadlines for completion.
- Set out the level of performance expected from the employee when working from home.
- Assign the working schedule to a central calendar so your team knows when the employee is working away from the office and the times when they are off.
- Both you and the employee need to maintain regular communication. This is so that you know your employee is working and so that they remain informed of any news or issues pertinent to their role.
- Give your employee regular and consistent feedback so that they know they are working to the expected standard. This means both negative and positive feedback.
- Remember to include the employee on company communications to ensure that they still feel like part of the team.
There are ways to make flexible working work for your business, whatever the size, and it’s something that’s going to become more important to do as employees start to look for roles that suit them.