Tomorrow, an estimated 4.5 million extra requests for flexible working could, theoretically, swamp UK firms. New legislation is coming into effect that represents one of the biggest changes to working practices, with the right to request flexible working extended to all parents with children under the age of 16.
In the U.S. we are not facing regulations, but the pressure to address flexible work arrangements is very real for many reasons, such as employee work-life balance demands, environmental responsibility and reductions in operational and real estate costs. So what does this mean for companies?
According to Dave Bailey of Computing, the main difficulty many employers have with flexible working arrangements is trust. A recent survey of 3,743 employees by BT Business and Nortel suggested that less than one in 10 UK small businesses trusts employees to work out of the office, despite 42 per cent of staff polled being confident that they could work better remotely.
The key to overcoming this issue is proper communication and monitoring, recommends Bailey. Video conferencing helps build trust by providing face-to-face communication from anywhere, so managers and teammates can regularly meet “in person” to collaborate and monitor productivity. Even though they no longer physically meet, video enables teams to stay connected. Read more from Dave Bailey about how businesses can deal with the increasing demand for flexible work arrangements.