The Art & Science of Flexible Working

The Telework Research Institute found that telecommuting benefits to business include improved employee satisfaction, reduced attrition and fewer unscheduled absences.

Flexible working provides a low cost way for employers to attract and retain talent, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, improve employee commitment and morale by allowing employees to balance between work and home life. Flexible working is implemented though work/life programs and includes telecommuting, flexi-time, shift working and job sharing.

Its not about number of working hours in office, its about the total effective work hours in a day contributed by an employee. This is what helps organizations keep up their promises to their customers.

Telecommuting allows employees to work from home, thus enabling them to manage their home priorities. Flexi-time allows employees to choose their start and finish time. Job sharing allows employees to share their work with their colleagues. Shift working allows employees to work different shifts to suit their convenience.

While flexible working allows more choice for employees, there are 4 basic areas of concern for employers. These are: perceived lack of control for managers, increased administrative costs, lack of transparency during work hours and the inability to measure work effort. Knowing how to measure the productivity of employees working from home is a significant problem for business.

This has resulted in organizations like Yahoo, Best Buy and Bank of America in either revoking or re-working their flexible working policies. But statistics show that flexible working is growing despite such fears.

Many flexible working programs remain as policies with very weak implementation due to the above concerns. This can be overcome through effective use of technology such as automated measurement of work activity on the laptop or desktop. Technology can provide the much needed “Visibility” of efforts towards achieving team goals as well as “Alignment” of efforts of ALL distributed/ virtual team members towards meeting promises made by the organisation.

Tools like ProHance provide visibility and alignment information at individual, team, function and enterprise levels. To achieve best results, the leaders need to communicate organisation goals with targets, motivate teams with their current status of performance and support team members by bridging gaps through organisation initiatives. Thus ProHance provides a “closed loop” performance management system with deeper employee engagement, a fusion of art and science for mutual benefit.

Such Productivity Management applications are now getting acceptance from both the employees and the employers. Employees find that such solutions enable confidence in their employees to ensure successful implementation of flexible working solutions. They also find that their work gets due recognition without the stringent work timings in office. Employers are realizing that Productivity Management applications like ProHance eliminate the ills of implementing and managing flexible working programs, providing control and transparency for managers without loss of privacy for the employees.

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