How flexible are you as an employer?

Allowing and trusting employees to stay at home and get the work done could earn you the votes to be best boss for life, but how practical is it?

Space
By
Sankar Pillai
September 26, 2019

Flexible working hours was a slow concept in that it took its own time to make a desired impact on corporate culture used to eight-hour week days, a practice that came into play from the time of the industrial revolution.

However, the recent call for work-life balance and harmony in the workspace to promote better productivity have seen employers slowly warming up to the fact that employees staying productive doesn’t necessarily have to involve face time in office. It is work in progress, but the benefits of flexible work hours are slowly being seen by the people who matter, the employers. There may be cons, but the pros definitely cannot be dismissed.

THE PROS

More productive
Employees love the idea of literally getting their hands of the wheel, working from home and beating morning and evening traffic blues. They also feel they are able to work better without having their bosses breathing down their necks.

Abdulla Jalees, a business development executive based in Sharjah is happy that the firm he works for does not have a check in and check out policy. “We get tasks done at our own convenience and when we are done, we are free to go back to our lives,” says Jalees while speaking to Gulf News. “I find that my colleagues and I get to balance our work life and personal life very well because of this system.”

More me time
Tackling office chores efficiently while staying at home allows the employee to spend a lot more time with his family. The moot point here is to stay efficient though. Balancing work and me time can be an uneasy task if the employees are not efficient in managing their time. Observe your employees carefully to see how efficient they are at managing their time before greenlighting a flexible hour policy for them.

Improves work force retention
There is no better way to a mother’s heart than showing her you care about her relationship with her babies as much as she possibly does. And as an employer, allowing new mothers to stay at home and work, in the bid to get them to spend more time with their baby is sure to win you some brownie points.
Your move will also make the employee think twice about quitting the firm the moment a complication arises at home as she will be aware that you have always been supportive as an employer. Allowing employees to work from home, especially new mothers can be a win-win.

Wider talent pool
Profiling applicants for 9-5 jobs might present a conveyer belt list of options that may not look too exciting. Presenting flexible hours opens up the game with a whole new list of talented job seekers that you may have been turning a blind eye to. It pays to consider flexible hours therefore when seeking job applicants and keeping your options open. You never know who might just walk through that door.

THE CONS

Trust factor
Flexible hours can be a real pain for any employer if the employee misuses the trust shown by the employer in allowing them to work from home. Tasks that remain undone, lack of responsibility towards one’s job and a noticeable reduction in respecting hierarchy can all lead to an employer losing trust in the employee, a fallout of flexible work hours.

Staying incommunicado
Many are the times when employees opting for flexible hours have fallen off the grid with employers finding it difficult to get in touch with employees staying at home and working. In an exigency situation and when trying to meet deadlines, employers can be at their wit’s end if the employee chooses not to communicate regularly.

IT and security concerns
Home networks have a notorious reputation among corporate IT teams. When employees choose to work from home, their personal laptops and computers are usually not as secure against virus attacks as workstations would be in an office environment.

Corporate IT departments therefore have a tough time when employees log on to the office network from home, potentially opening up the office to malware and virus attacks through personal desktop and laptops. As an employer, it makes sense for you to get your IT teams to whet any and all personal devices used by employees to access the office network before agreeing to let them work from home.

The cons aside, working from home is a great way for you as an employer to build long-term relationships with your employees and is a worthy option to build a healthy working environment at office and away.

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