Managing a more flexible workforce

To follow up on a couple of recent news stories relating to flexible work, for employers thinking of adopting change, you will also need to know how to effectively manage a more flexible workforce.

It is widely accepted that the 9-5 working day is moving into the past, as remote working and 24/7 email cultures are actually causing a shift in the traditional working pattern. But, how can you manage a flexible workforce? How can you ensure that your staff are still working their allocated hours, even if they are outside 9-5?

Recognise different working needs
Just like anything, flexible working needs to be managed properly – and a big part of that is knowing your team. Make sure you open up flexible working to everyone so that there is no singling out or “favouritism”, and that all staff understand the company’s culture. Understanding your team’s different individual requirements and circumstances can also help play to their strengths and encourage them to perform their overall part in the running of the company.

Effective monitoring
By the very nature of flexible working, it can come in a number of different shapes and sizes. Some people may do more travelling than others, some may be office-based whilst others “work in the field” – and that is where it can be difficult to effectively monitor working patterns.

The best way to achieve this is through a system or software that is non-invasive, so still allows staff to manage their time without being made to feel as though they are micro-managed. “Clocking on” systems can be built into laptops, for example, or use customer relationship management software that would show up “hot spots” for customer communication. There are a number of tools that can be used to ensure you are managing your flexible team in the best possible way.

Remember you’re a human
Recent research shows that some 87% of the UK’s full-time workers are either currently employed with flexible hours, or would like to do so. There are lots of robotic processes out there which can help employers monitor staff working hours but remember that, ultimately, we’re all human, and there needs to be an element of tangibility and understanding too. Make sure staff understand the expectations that come with flexible working and the consequences of those who are not toeing the line.

If you would like any legal advice relating to any staffing issues within your business, contact the Employment Law team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.