HR & Management

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Four ways to make flexible working work well

3 Mins

To work flexibly as part of any team, you need to be transparent about patterns, be responsive and always deliver in line with expectations. I would question whether those who go off radar for long periods of time or require a great deal of chasing and monitoring are ready to work flexibly.

3) Trust

Often, flexible working comes down to the basic principles of trust and confidence. If you trust and are confident in your team to deliver work on time and to expectations, then where their location of operation and when they do it should really not be a consideration.

If you do not feel confident in someone being able to work on this basis, it is a likely indicator that they are not ready to work flexibly.

4) Flexibility for both sides

Finally, it is essential that individuals understand that flexible working sometimes requires flexibility both on the part of the business and the individual. There may be periods when there may be a need to “flex up”. For example, my head of business development’s set working pattern is four days a week, with one of those days being worked from home.

However, when I am in the UK, once every 4/5 weeks, she tries to come into the office the full four days. That might mean slightly shorter office days for her that week, but we both hugely value face time and will be flexible to have that. Halebury’s lawyers also work on this basis and will often invest a lot of up front time in person with a client at the beginning of a project to ensure they are properly embedded in the business before moving on to a more flexible working pattern.

Flexible working requires management, but with the right recruitment ensuring you hire the right people with the right mind-set, along with strong incentive plans, it can be successful.  It has increased our effectiveness and efficiency, not to mention played a key part in our talent management and retention. 

As more and more businesses adopt flexible working practices, we continue to evolve ours to ensure we offer the best tools and technology to empower it. 

Janvi Patel is chairwoman and co-founder of Halebury.

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