UK Human Resources
Supervisors: FlexWork Resources
What You Need to Know:
Many employees are choosing workplace flexibility options and this section offers guidance and resources for supervisors who have questions about the business case for Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA), want to learn about it's effectiveness in practice or are developing flexibility guidelines and responding to proposals.
Sharing FWA Options with Staff
Q: If I allow one employee to work a flexible arrangement, will everyone else want to work one as well? Will this have a negative impact on morale when I have to say no?
A: All research thus far has indicated that any organization that has implemented flexible work arrangements have not seen the "floodgates opened," where all employees have requested changes from the "normal" full-time job with regular schedules.
Q: Will flexible work arrangements create more work for me and the coworkers of employees on a flexible arrangement?
A: As a manager, you may actually find that a flexible work arrangement requires less work when implemented properly. A flexible work arrangement requires a different management methodology, one that focuses on results and the process, not how and when the employee is getting the work done. It requires managers to empower their employees to be responsible for insuring deadlines are met and quality is still maintained. This process enhances employee skills of self-management and independence. Likewise, it is the responsibility of the employee when proposing a flexible work arrangement to ensure that co-workers will not have additional work burdens placed upon them. The way in which co-workers communicate and exchange work with an employee on a flexible schedule may change, but their overall work load should not.
Q: Will I lose control over my employees and their work when someone is working a flexible work arrangement? How can I evaluate a person who I cannot "see" working?
A: Managers of employees working a flexible schedule could actually see greater opportunities to concentrate on results and bottom-line impact when they are not having to be concerned with who does what, when. Emphasis should be placed on quantity and quality of results achieved rather than numbers of hours worked.
Q: Are flexible work arrangements disruptive to the work unit?
A: Changes in the way business is done is often difficult unless it is a well-managed process. But once implemented, it can run smoothly. Without question, if an arrangement isn't implemented and the Company loses a strong performer, business operations will be disrupted.
Q: Are flexible work arrangements just a fad? Will interest in them soon pass?
A: If current projections about labor force shortages and changes and workforce demographics prove correct, flexibility will become an even more important issue in the years to come. More women will be entering an aging workforce. Companies will be mostly service-oriented and new jobs will require much higher skill levels than today's jobs. Generations X and Y demand control over their work and place ability to balance work and personal life as their number one objective. Employees will have to juggle work with education, training and family. To succeed, both employees and employers will need more flexibility, not less.
Q: Will flexible work arrangements cost the business unit and company overall more money in terms of accommodating the employee with computer access, phone lines and equipment?
A: The costs of accommodating an employee on a flexible work arrangement may be relatively small and offset by the increased office space available. Furthermore, managers maintain the right to deny an arrangement if it is too costly to implement.
Q: Will I be forced to allow employees who work flexible arrangements to have lower performance standards and expectations?
A: The methods used to evaluate an employee's performance may change, but the overall job expectations should not. Flexible work arrangements do not affect performance standards or evaluations.
Q: Should flexible work arrangements be available only to top performers?
A: Although performance and other qualities such as the ability to work with less supervision should be taken into consideration, managers should remember that if an employee's weak performance is due to stress, burnout or conflicting personal obligations, a flexible schedule may improve the quality of his or her work.