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With many people planning to ask for permanent flexible working, leaders have the chance to be proactive and encourage positive conversations. Our free toolkit for employees will help.
By Claire Campbell, Consultancy Director, Timewise
It’s becoming clear that, when the workplace gets back to ‘normal’, it won’t look like it did before. The crisis has challenged the concept of the office being the best place to work. And employees in all kinds of roles, whether office-based, frontline or elsewhere, have seen for themselves the benefits of working flexibly or reducing their hours.
The knock-on effect of this is an increase in demand for permanent flexibility. A recent survey suggested that 13 million people plan to request changes to their long-term pattern once the crisis has subsided.
Is this something employers should fear? On the contrary, we believe this is a catalyst that will change workplaces for the better. And so instead of worrying about opening the floodgates, leaders and managers should see this as an opportunity to be proactive, and encourage their staff to explore their options in a way that will work for the business.
It’s for this reason that we’ve created a free toolkit for employees, Beyond lockdown: How to negotiate flexible working, for the long-term . It’s part of our free Covid-19 support programme, and will help individuals understand the different flexible working options, explore which best match their role, and think through the impact on their team and the wider organisation.
Sharing this toolkit with your employees will help them consider the issues and potential solutions before they bring their request to their managers, which should lead to really positive conversations. It will also encourage them to ask for a flexible working pattern that benefits the business as well as themselves.
And critically, being proactive about offering this support will demonstrate that you’re a forward-looking, proactive employer who puts staff wellbeing at the heart of your strategy. In the post-Covid landscape, where organisations may be judged on their response to the crisis, that’s a powerful position to be in.