Coach Oliver Hansard has worked with many employers who know that flexible working is something employees want, but may struggle to implement it. Here is his advice.
The new year brings with it the prospect of new resolutions to change life for the better. Many parents reached the end of the year stressed out and in need of much greater work life balance. But how do they get it? Here Oliver Hansard of Hansard Coaching makes the case for greater flexibility at work as a benefit for both parents and the employers they work for. But despite this, things will only shift when more and more people make the case for it. The important thing is to ask for what you want and for employers and managers to have a clear plan for how to make it work.
Adrian worked as a commercial director in a media sales company. Almost simultaneously he became a new father and moved house out of central London to the Essex countryside and so extended his daily commute by an hour.
In order to soften the blow of this longer day and the pressures of parenting a new born, his line manager allowed him to come in a little later, leave a little earlier provided he was in communication whilst travelling and finished the day’s work after putting his young son to bed.
These arrangements worked in three dimensions without impacting Adrian’s productivity: he was available as if he was in the office; he became more loyal to the business; and the fact that he wasn’t always travelling at peak times meant he was able to minimise his travelling costs just at a time when money was needed for new baby equipment!!
In my role as a coach, I’ve seen flexible working succeed in a range of business sizes and verticals. Yes, sometimes employees can take advantage, but more often than not it works for all concerned, improves the culture of the organisation and makes individuals more loyal both to their boss and their employer.
My experience has taught me that making flexible working work is just as much about the manager as it is about the individual concerned. I have always worked on the basis that a good manager knows if one of their reports is delivering because of the outputs they observe and not because of their observation of them in the office. Of course, being present with your team is important but not necessarily a requirement all the time. Managed well, everyone can be productive regardless of where they work from.
Mini Athletics is a completely unique business which makes a difference to the lives of children and franchisees.
Here are some ideas I have seen put into practice that have helped flexible working schemes succeed:
Of course, all employees have a legal right to ask to work flexibly; it is inevitable that you will be asked so be prepared.
Whilst an employer can refuse to agree to flexible working when there is a business case to, but, done well, flexible working pays dividends through efficiency, productivity and worker happiness, and I can’t think of a better business case than that.
*Oliver Hansard is a Business Coach and Non-Executive Director of Hansard Coaching.