Can a flexible working environment be the answer to increased productivity and more successful teams? In an age when so many employees require workplace flexibility, working ‘9 to 5’ is becoming increasingly archaic.
Redesigning teams around flexible working schedules and locations could prove the difference between highly engaged employees and those who resent the lack of freedom at work.
But how do you implement such innovative structures? How do you redesign teams to accommodate flexibility, and challenge the workplace mentality surrounding flexible schedules?
How to redesign teams for greater workplace flexibility
- Focus on the team’s needs
Every workplace has employees whose ideal hours are outside 9am to 5pm. You might have full-timers who really want or need to work 7am to 3pm, or 10am until 6pm, for example. Redesigning the team to take these requests into account can lead to better work-life balance, increased individual effort and improved team performances. Perhaps also consider introducing a flex-time system, in which employees ‘bank’ their overtime hours and can take this time off at a later date.
- Give your employees equal opportunities
According to the Australian Government, some employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements, such as carers of young children. But as an employer, why not extend this right (subject to business requirements, of course) to all employees? This may include employees studying to better their career or those with recreational or volunteer obligations outside of work. Teams who create their own flexible schedules and are entrusted to manage their tasks and responsibilities are more likely to feel empowered to succeed and contribute to a positive culture.
- Consider remote options
Does your company have the capacity for employees to work from home or a remote location, rather than commuting to the office every day? If so, this could be a plausible option in redesigning the team to accommodate flexibility, especially for workers who could benefit from increased time at home and a better work-life balance.
- Change assumptions
For some employees, flexibility means a fear of missing out on career advancement because they are simply not doing the same hours or don’t have the same physical office presence as their peers. Others may resent flexible work arrangements, thinking it means those employees are doing less work. Addressing these fears is a high priority in redesigning teams. Try reiterating HR policies on internal recruitment, such as transparency and equality, and addressing individual fears when discussing flexible arrangements.
- Start with recruitment
If your firm is trying to promote flexible arrangements, an effective recruitment process while looking for staff and job advertising are simple ways to start. The appeal of a flexible working day may be enough to entice high-quality candidates into applying. Employees who are on-board with adaptable schedules from the start will have the mindset to accept change and be prepared for ongoing team redesign.
Redesigning the team to accommodate flexibility could provide the edge your company needs to get ahead. A flexible team means better work-life balance and satisfied, more productive employees.