The flexible working myth

So this week I am staying away from social media, but looking to gauge responses on topics for staff retention and candidate attraction. Leave a comment below and share what you think about flexible working!

This is a sore spot for many people the world over, flexible working, or indeed the fantasy of flexible working. What a world it would be if we all wandered to our desks on a Tuesday and finished our office working week on a Thursday! Not only would this make a lot of people happy, it would make a lot of people unhappy – namely employers.

What is it that gives flexible working such bad press? Well, that’s an easy one. It’s the odd few who take flexible working and abuse it. The ‘wake at 10am, watch JK and then possibly switch on their laptop around 1-ish and finish their day by 3pm’ few. Don’t all gasp at once! I am not blaming YOU, just a certain few. And as we all know, it only takes one person to spoil a brilliant idea.

With attracting candidates and retaining staff made harder by FD’s saying no to raising salaries and no to that extra head you need on your team, employers need to be more attractive. So what do we class as flexible working? Personally, I believe flexible working means an agreement between an employee and their line manager to work away from the office on an agreed day. This means the same amount of work will be done as when they are in the office. It also means the line manager has trust in their employee and mostly that the employee working remotely is not treated any different to their colleagues who are in the office.

Why are employers reluctant to let their staff out? If someone is good at their job, they will be good wherever they are (dependant on their job role – some people need to be in the office to do their job). And why do so many say they have a flexible working policy, but actually it doesn’t mean anything? What’s the point – lying to an employee is less likely to retain them, or create a good employee experience.

I believe there should be trust between and employee and an employer, trust to believe they will do their best work no matter where they are. This increases productivity and also retains the best staff. If you don’t trust an employee to work hard out the office – should they be your employee?

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