Increasing Flexibility in the Workplace – do you and your organisation have the skills to cope?
Increasing Flexibility in the Workplace – The Demand
The CIPD Winter Outlook 2017 has found that 40% of HR professionals have put increasing the agility and flexibility of their organisation in their top 3 priorities for this year.
This has been driven largely by the increase in demand for flexible working – is your organisation equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage flexibility? Is your culture ready to support this huge impending change?
A survey last year by MFC found that more than half (53%) of employee respondents would rather be offered flexible working arrangements as a benefit than a 5% salary increase.
In addition, flexibility is at the top of the new recruit’s wish-list – MD J. Downes at Powwownow last year said:
‘Flexible working has become a key area now when people are looking for a job and companies in the UK face losing the top talent if they don’t adapt to this way of working.’
Furthermore, we have to consider where the demand is coming from – and it’s not just from parents and carers. The Centre for Ageing Better estimates that by 2022, more than one in three workers will be over 50.
CE Anna Dixon from the Centre said:
‘We need age-friendly workplaces, which allow people to sustain productive and healthy working lives for longer. Older workers should expect to be treated equally and fairly as any other worker, with flexibility, reasonable adjustments, and opportunities for development.’
The Skills Gap
With a surge in demand for increasing flexibility in the workplace over the next few years, organisations need to be able to ensure they have equipped their staff with the right skills to be able to support those who want and need flexibility – or risk losing them.
Managers need to be able to:
- Understand the process and policies that surround flexibility in the workplace
- Know what to say and do at each part of the process of application to ensure they stay on the right side of the law
- Value and encourage output and productivity of the team, not how many hours are spent behind the desk
- Encourage career progression for those working flexibly
- Ensure even team workload to manage those who don’t work flexibly
- Communicate in a way that makes those who work flexibly feel supported and valued
Those working flexibly need to be able to:
- Fully think through their decision to apply – the pros and the cons
- Understand the process of application – and how to present a balanced and business-focussed proposal
- Re-assess and potentially work on their own time management and self-organisation skills
- Understand what they want from their careers and set new objectives to reflect their working patterns
- Network with others in the same position for increased confidence