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What’s behind the flexibility buzz?

Several weeks have passed since the UK’s so called “Freedom Day” and Flexibility, Hybrid and Remote are still buzzwords of the moment. We see and hear them every day, but what do they mean for business and how the workplace will look in the future? Although many organisations are still at an experimental stage, they are concerned with how “the buzz” will work for them. They are going beyond the words and taking flexible working seriously, with a desire to deliver choice on when, where and how work takes place. There is now a golden opportunity to create the optimum conditions for success for both staff and the business.

Whatever decision is reached, the chances are your business will not be returning to pre-pandemic ways of work and some degree of flexibility will exist. For some, this may mean a ‘work from home’ day each week, whilst others will go much further, saying they don’t mind where work takes place, giving individuals the freedom to create a schedule that suits them.

During 18 months of stop/start of remote working, many organisations seized the opportunity to wave goodbye to the office, announcing a demise of the 9-5 work pattern. For these organisations, flexible working is here to stay.  Improvements to health and well-being were a notable benefit, with time previously spent on commuting used for family time, working out or simply enjoying a relaxed morning coffee. What became apparent is that great work can be achieved anywhere. By being flexible and adaptive, teams across all manner of business arrived at arrangements that worked for everyone. Plus, management was more than happy to equip employees to work from home and slash office costs, in particular soaring rents.

Remote/home working as a permanent arrangement is now in demand, especially amongst younger employees and caregivers. However, some bosses remain unsure about flexible working and argue that bringing teams together has the benefit of fostering collaboration and corporate culture, which can be especially helpful for new starters and the less experienced. Also to be considered is the actual ability to offer flexible working, which varies according to sector; for example, as a concept it is far less simple to implement in hospitality or retail. What should also be taken into account is that remote/home working does not suit everyone, with some finding it hard to remain motivated and engaged. Add to this those workers that don’t want to ditch the office entirely and who would welcome an occasional opportunity to spend time interacting with colleagues.

So, for the flexible working model to succeed it is obvious that a range of factors need to be considered. And, whilst each business decides what is best for them, the situation for many remains experimental and fluid. Hybrid working offers choice and flexibility that can lead to a motivated and engaged team. It will also deliver on the benefits some derive from a visit to the office or a meeting with colleagues. Empowering people with the choice of where, how and when to work could ensure they are more productive than they have ever been. With the freedom to work in a way that suits the individual, hybrid working is the compromise that will define the future of work.

An inclusive environment where people can work from home, at the office or remotely, with individual choice for balancing work and personal lives, is the reality behind the buzzwords.

With four decades of experience, Frontier Software is an established provider of global Human Capital Management (HCM) software solutions. The ichris software suite is functionally rich and highly configurable, with modules providing a truly integrated platform across all touch points of HCM. Deployment options include cloud based or on-premise and, for payroll, outsourced services can also be provided. To maximise the benefits of flexible working, Frontier Software offers a range of tools that enable your staff to be productive anytime/anywhere including Onboarding software and Mobile HR app.

Article originally published on London Loves Business August 2021.