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Do we really need amended Flexible Working Regulations?

I have been working at home managing my own work flow and outcomes since 2001, having previously worked where globally dispersed teams were common. So for me flexible working is not new: just the way my colleagues and I work. So changes in the legislation to request it will have no impact.There are many organisations that have achieved real business benefits by implementing a change to technology enabled working that free employees from place and time constraints. There have been national, international and sector specific initiatives. So why do we still have organisations who treat flexible working as something to be barely tolerated or worse resisted at all costs? Other organisations have just let it happen, resulting in piece meal working practices and patchwork culture with flexible working where managers are more positive and staff push for it and total resistance in other functions. In the long term this can only lead to employee dissatisfaction, lack of security and engagement and dysfunctional behaviour.So my advice is:

  • Start with a blank piece of paper and build up the working processes and practices using the technology and systems available now. Think how you would set up if you were a new entrant to the market.
  • Challenge everything - nothing is sacrosanct unless you have hard data to support it not just beliefs, feelings, habits. Resist the tendency to inertia, risk aversion and the fear of the unknown.
  • Test out what your service users or customers want - when and how they want to interact with you.
  • Test out how all your staff would like to work- you are not promising them that they can work in new ways only that you are open to new approaches.
  • Identify where the different interests interact and design the flexible working practices that meet you organisation's, customers' and staff needs. If all these needs come together in balance great benefits can be achieved with engagement scores doubling and significant productivity increases.
  • Let go and trust (while monitoring and confronting individuals if they stray).

Changing to new ways of working can be very liberating and energising for all involved. The added benefit if you get it right is that you will never have to worry about complying with the Flexible Working Regulations ever again.Be brave - go for it!