Communication: Tips to Successfully Managing Employees with Flexible Work Hours
Communication: Tips to Successfully Managing Employees with Flexible Work Hours
Post written by Paragon Interiors   June 13, 2018

An Outcomes Based Management approach, where staff members are assessed by the quality of the tasks that they accomplish rather than by their presence at the office, allows for flexibility of working hours and a choice of where to work.

For this way of working to be successful, a unified shift in management style and outlook is required, with an undiluted and absolute belief in the benefits of this system. These benefits needs to be communicated to all members of the team. Some employees have the challenge of balancing children and careers or find the commute to work in rush hour traffic an arduous and irritating waste of time. Giving employees the opportunity to choose their working hours, can go a long way to keeping individuals happy and productive. Included below are a few important tips to successfully manage employees with flexible hours:

  • Establish why it will be beneficial for the employee and the employer to adopt flexible working hours, how will it add value?

  • By adopting a coaching approach, managers develop employees’ problem solving skills and give them greater independence.

  • Point out to employees that this is not a right, but rather an equally favourable partnership between employer and employee.

  • Set distinct boundaries and policies that are acceptable to the company and to the employee, for example, are there essential hours, or specific places to be worked from, or is anywhere ok? How often does the employee need to be in contact with management? To what degree can the agreed to work hours change and when should the manager be notified? Make sure the rules are understood by all so that there are no accusations of preferential treatment or unfairness.

  • Explain and agree to requirements, goals, and deadlines at the beginning of an assignment or task. The individual employee must completely understand what is expected from him/her, as well as what is expected from the rest of the team. This may mean some detailed planning needs to take place by the manager before the tasks are delegated to employees. It is important to set realistic expectations so that commitments can be met, and explain what measures will be taken if these goals are not met.

  • Communication is essential. Give regular, constructive feedback. It is a good idea to set meetings up-front where the employee can be held accountable, work completed can be evaluated and constructive feedback can be given. For tips on how to give constructive feedback to get the best results read our blog Constructive feedback: Why we shouldn’t say ‘good work’: A management myth debunked. Recognising good results, provides reinforcement and encouragement for an employee and spurs on continued quality work. If, due to logistics, you cannot have a meeting at the same location, invest in video conferencing, Skype, or WhatsApp video so that there is visual contact. It creates a much better rapport than just an email.

  • Provide a collaborative work environment, where management and colleagues are easily approachable either on site or through technology.

  • Make sure the right technology is available to enable the remote worker to do their jobs seamlessly and securely. Provide training for the appropriate use of the technology.

  • It is important to have team building events where all staff members are included so that relationships are built with colleagues. Using technology to enable group participation for those that are remote, helps to facilitate good working relationships and promote synergy.

  • If the off-sight employee will incur reclaimable expenses as part of their work tasks, have a clear and fair system of reimbursement. Leaving them out of pocket will lead to resentment.

  • Some work positions require regular and full-time commitment to the organisation and this should be made clear to those employees when joining the company.

  • Some employees may not like the idea of this new flexible way of working, feeling more secure with regular hours, and an employer needs to consider if they can continue with this or whether they can be encouraged to adapt. Provide training on new technology and reassurance that the employee will still be valued, even if not visible.

  • There is a suggestion that managers may inadvertently give lower performance evaluations and corresponding raises to employees who work off-site, which is why it is essential to have open, honest and regular communication. Opportunities for new projects or promotions may be missed due to being out of sight and presumably, out of mind. Making sure that management is always thoroughly aware of their resources before assigning tasks will help to alleviate this.

The future of work requires an attitude from management that adapts to flexibility, to be able to secure the right talent, keeping both employer and employee happy. Outcomes based management and flexible work hours go a long way to accommodating for the needs of employees whilst still achieving set organisational objectives.

Giving your employee flexible working hours is a big decision that needs careful consideration. Check out our blog ‘ Is working from home the best option for employees?