A trend that is fast becoming a practice is the concept of offering employees the option of flexible working hours.
By Jayanthi Vaidyanathan
As the industry continues to evolve, a host of internal and external factors have been identified as catalysts to challenge the status quo. A trend that is fast becoming a practice is the concept of offering employees the option of flexible working hours. Dynamic workplaces today require concurrent changes in the way employees approach work too. Therefore, it is necessary for every stakeholder in the company to evaluate their functioning to ensure that the process of implementation remains smooth and productive.
Collaboration is key
Teamwork is one of the most commonly cited challenges with flexible work patterns. Working according to pre-determined procedures and standards will help in implementing this effectively. Consistent communication within teams allows for course corrections and reduces the challenges teams may face in collaborating efficiently. Tools such as Slack and Yammer can aid in this endeavour.
Defining your role
Another factor to be considered is the lack of clarity of roles. Accountability is crucial considering the non- traditional approach to working. The fact that teams are dispersed across locations means that employees need to be more considerate, understand their individual roles and seamlessly execute to deliver results. Regular team check-ins reduce the likelihood of dissonance.
A robust communications infrastructure
One of the most effective ways to resolve issues around flexible working patterns is the use of technology. Cloud technology, AI and ML have enabled remote data access and exchange. To maintain this state of affairs, it is important that employees across hierarchies are trained to benefit from these innovations. As the work protocols change with an increase in flexible work patterns, managers too must be trained to handle this evolved workforce with a focus on keeping the morale high and ensuring team integration.
Virtual training and up-skilling opportunities
One of the aspects that forms an important factor of evaluation is an employee’s ability to deliver results irrespective of their location. Virtual working has led to a change in work parameters which also implies that employees today require different skills. Thus, organizations must look to identify and design training modules that can be executed remotely enabling higher efficiency and giving employees the ability to upskill.
Remaining motivated over time
While organizational policies can be augmented to be conducive to today’s workforce, the element of personal motivation is an issue that they alone must contend with. These are several instances of employees producing less than satisfactory work due to a variety of reasons while working remotely. Every employee works differently, and organizations must be cognizant of their unique work patterns.
Workplaces today are no longer restricted to the physical realm as technology has enabled its expansion into the digital world. Organizational policies have followed suit with a host of differentiated offerings that are suitably adapted to such an ecosystem. Flexible work policies are the key to succeeding in this environment and keeping the above factors in mind will ensure that employees remain productive and efficient no matter their work situations.
(Jayanthi Vaidyanathan is Senior Director of Human Resources at PayPal India. Views expressed are personal.)