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2021 – The Year of Flexible Working

Written by

Laura Belyea


As we ease ourselves into 2021, it might feel like groundhog day all over again. But in the aftermath of the continued pandemic, it’s set to be a year of new beginnings. 

With working from home becoming the daily norm, corporates of all size have been forced to review their flexible working policies, as well rethink what it means to be an employee in this new era.

If the latest findings are anything to go on, flexible working is one of the top HR trends 2021 will be defined by. Here’s why.

Flexibility in Working

But first let’s take a moment to remind ourselves what flexible working means. The term is used to define an approach to work that supports an employee’s needs. This might be the option to work remotely, or work flexible hours to suit their lifestyle – helpful to the challenges of working parents and many other groups.

Trust and transparency are key qualities of forward-thinking organisations. Leaders that accommodate an employee-centric approach can benefit from greater productivity, lower staff turnover and great customer and employee satisfaction.

 

What we learnt from last year

For years professionals have been arguing the advantages of flexible working on productivity and employee retention. For many though, it took a global pandemic to make this a possibility. Not only has it forced many of us to work remotely, but with home-schooling and furlough coming in to play, it has also meant a new approach to working hours.

While there may be an end in sight to the pandemic, it’s unlikely that many of us will return to the nine to five office when it’s over. A report published in People Management found that the vast majority of the population (72 per cent) want to continue to work from home, with 70 per cent preferring to carry on working flexitime, or part-time (64 per cent).

 

Time to review Flexible Working?

As we have already seen, it’s crucial for businesses to embrace change and move with the times. Learning to pivot may well have been the buzzword of 2020. 

So then, what can companies do to ensure they are addressing employees flexible  working needs?

 

  • Invite feedback – So much has changed in the workplace in recent times that it would be foolhardy to carry on as ‘normal’. A pulse survey is a great way to take a snapshot in time and understand the needs and challenges faced by team members. This should offer some insight into your employee’s feelings towards flexible working, and whether it’ something you need to review.

 

  • Revisit your flexible working policy – corporate policies should frequently be revisited and reviewed to ensure they are up to date. But aside from the legal aspect, has your business moved on and is it time to review your policy and procedure for flexible working requests? 

 

  • Competitor audit – If in doubt, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Corporate branding and reputation is ever-important in HR circles, that those who don’t prioritise this are quickly left behind.

 

 

Summary

Flexible working has never been more topical, or important. It has proven an asset to all employees, and not just working parents. As such, is it time you reviewed your flexible working policy? If so, now is the time.

 

Learn how to plan and launch a Pulse Program in your organisation with our HR Playbook.

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