Flexible working has grown in popularity due to the benefits it offers to both the employer and workers, including increased productivity and a healthier work-life balance. In fact, Stanford researchers found that remote workers were happier and less likely to quit, in addition to being more effective and engaged at work.
However, offering this kind of benefit could backfire and actually decrease efficiency, which is a cause for concern for employers. Yet when remote working is implemented properly, employees will have greater control over their working lives, spend less time commuting, gain valuable time with their families, and be more productive and cost-efficient for the company.
Here’s how employers can keep workers engaged.
Take advantage of communication tools
It’s crucial that employees stay in the loop, communicate with colleagues, and are kept engaged while out of the office. A great way to ensure communication between colleagues is by using cloud-based communication tools. Applications like Salesforce Chatter, Skype, and Google are all great platforms for colleagues to communicate and collaborate in real time without the formality of an email. It not only encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing, but also improves teamwork and is likely to build more effective working relationships.
Read more about flexible working:
- Why 2016 will be the year that flexible working is fully embraced
- Four ways to make flexible working work well for you
- How to manage flexible working
Form a club or host a virtual happy hour
Sometimes flexible workers can feel like they miss out on the social element of an office environment. Tools like Google Hangouts can facilitate employee groups and informal clubs, whether that be a monthly book club or virtual happy hour. Virtual face time builds a strong working culture when employees are not in a physical office. Creating weekly or monthly rituals can ensure inclusivity and relationship-building between teams.
Encourage new ways of working
Encourage staff to work in a way that is effective for them. If they get their best ideas at a local coffee shop, they should work from there. If a certain Spotify playlist helps their creativity flow, they should listen to it. Feel-good healthy habits can be real mood boosters and ensure productivity. It’s simple, happy employees will produce better work. This in turn will provide customers with the best possible services. Fantastic customer experiences start with fantastic worker experiences; it’s a win-win virtuous cycle.
There are countless benefits associated with offering flexible or remote working. So much so, that research from Investors in People, states a third would choose it over a three per cent pay rise, and Appirio’s “Future of Work” report found that flexibility is one of the top three criteria IT staff look for when evaluating new job opportunities – more so than compensation. It’s important to bear in mind though that a process centred on the employee is crucial for flexible or remote working to work effectively.
Ensure the worker experience and company culture is as great for all workers, whether they are in the office or not as employees will be happier, more productive and produce better work.
To find out more on taking flexible working from concept to execution, Real Business quizzed four growth company leaders on what has worked for them.
Lynn Hanley is senior director, HCM, EMEA, at Appirio.
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