October half term: How to help your employees find a good work-life balance

Its also important to make sure your employees are connected as possible whether it’s through a secure broadband connection or a fast 4G mobile service. The benefits of mobile working mean that employees can respond to emails at the school gate and host hassle free conference calls using apps.

Small businesses are often more agile than larger ones so implementing smarter working policies early can keep costs down and employee satisfaction high. Happy staff provide great benefits to any business, including a higher rate of staff retention and a reduction in absenteeism.

However, it’s also important to foster an environment where smarter working is accepted, and this needs to be led from the top. Over the last few years, smarter working has become a common practice at O2 and it really has been driven by a significant change in our culture. 

For those looking to replicate this, key tips to introducing flexible working in a workplace include:

  • Training: provide adequate training for managers and team leaders to ensure the arrangements are managed and implemented in the right way, being realistic for what work can be done flexibly, as well as when and how it can be done
  • Trial periods for staff: Trial certain segments of the company to test and then rule out any problems
  • Identify senior role models working flexibly to ensure the process is working smoothly
  • Allocate mentors to share similar experiences and provide support and guidance
  • Conduct regular reviews on staff undertaking the flexible working programme and amend where needed
This October half term is the perfect time to trial out some smarter working initiatives in your own business. Instead of struggling through the week with a depleted team, seize the opportunity to test-run your staffing plans before Christmas 2015.

Paul Lawton is general manager of SMB at O2 Business.

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