Six tips for going beyond basics with flexible working
Guest Blog from Sorrel Shalet
Smart Energy GB’s Head of People, explains why flexible working is so much more than shuffling timesheets.
The days of hiding out in an airless office from 9 ‘til 5 are long gone, and with the wealth of affordable technology available to us, it’s easier than you might think to give employees the freedom to work flexibly.
Here at Smart Energy GB, we truly believe that flexibility and diversity of working practice is mutually beneficial. A well-managed, flexible working environment that supports staff and their families, promotes welfare, and provides a productive balance between work and life outside work, is more important than ever.
Here are some tips to get on board with flexible working in 2018.
1. Understand what matters to your staff
Flexible working isn’t just about moving hours around or working a four-day week. From planned appointments like smart meter installations or taking deliveries, to unplanned issues like broken boilers or late child-minders, sometimes life gets in the way. More often than not, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Being able to get a boiler fixed on a Tuesday morning might mean the world to someone, especially if the alternative is waiting for days until the next out-of-hours appointment. Letting your employees take time to get the little things sorted will help them come into work with a clearer head.
2. Consider everyone
Be open minded when it comes to the availability of flexible working. Develop guidelines that apply to everyone, and make sure your policy isn’t exclusive to senior team members or people with children. Think about some of the other issues your employees might face, whether that’s dealing with a difficult landlord or taking a much-loved pet to the vet.
3. Embrace technology
Give everyone the tools and technology they need to work flexibly, irrespective of their level or job title. Laptops are a great way to enable employees to work from home and, as an added bonus, they also use less energy than a desktop computer. If you have the resource to do so, make sure every employee has their own mobile phone and set up a secure, online storage system for your company, so that employees can access their work wherever and whenever they want to.
4. Be proactive
Think about where you should actively encourage staff to work flexibly in order to schedule appointments that will make a difference in the long-term. For example, everyone in Great Britain is being offered the opportunity to upgrade their home to a smart meter at no additional cost. Sharing information about smart meters and encouraging employees to book their installation appointment will give your team the confidence that you care about their wellbeing – and that you care about the environment too. Encouraging employees to save energy at home with their smart meters can also relieve financial pressure, help build a more motivated workforce, and inspire people to save energy in the workplace.
5. Don’t get hung up on start times
It obviously depends on your business, but sometimes being on time every morning isn’t the most important thing. Trust your employees to get the job done and let them manage the time they need to do it. If staff need to come in late sometimes, they’ll balance the hours out another time. Show some flexibility and your team will thank you for it.
6. Be vocal
Whether it’s health, fitness, energy, transport or childcare, leading employers recognise the benefits of supporting employees beyond their immediate job role. Develop your staff handbook so that every member of the team knows your organisation’s policy on flexible working. Keep an open door at all times, and make sure every employee knows they can make a reasonable request to fit work around personal or professional commitments.
Smart Energy GB is inviting businesses and organisations of all sizes to become a Smart Energy Employer, by sharing information with staff about smart meters or letting employees work flexibly, so they can be at home for the installation.
Those who take part will be awarded a ‘Smart Energy Employers’ badge – a great visual addition to your green brand and a fantastic way to engage your employees and put your flexible working policies into practice.
Smart meters mean accurate bills and information in pounds and pence, in near real time, on how much energy you’re using – a complete transformation to the current outdated energy system. Everyone can get a smart meter at no extra cost from their energy supplier.
Over 20 employers including the NHS, Hilton Hotels and Adnams are already working with their employees as part of the Smart Energy Employers scheme. Find out more at: smartenergyGB.org/employers