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No flexible work – why?

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HC Online | 05 Nov 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
A new report has outlined the reasons why many employers are resisting the flexiwork tide.
  • kevin | 05 Nov 2013, 01:28 PM Agree 0
    It has now go to the point where the employee's availability is driving rosters and in some instances the number of shift variations actually exceeding the number of employees. To provide even further flexibility as is required after 1 Jan 2014 may only be achieved by changing either service delivery or customer expectations. This is going to greatly challenge those of us in the service industry with a shift from the customer to the employee.
  • David | 05 Nov 2013, 01:32 PM Agree 0
    Flexible hours are not favoured by companies with salaried employees due to the expectation that employees will work beyond the standard contracted hours when needed. The concept of a flexible hour’s arrangements where requests to work to a strict 38 hour week (with varied starting and finishing times) can bread animosity within a team where people have a general expectation of a 45-50 hour week.
    It is more important in these environments to have a flexible working arrangement where people can be mobile and work from home, or other locations, and have the flexibility to have their work judged on its quality rather than by a valueless time based measure.
  • Alison Monroe | 05 Nov 2013, 03:55 PM Agree 0
    What would be of interest is ongoing measurement of staff engagement, performance and turnover in flexible organisations versus non flexible then we will really be able to have a compelling discussion on the merits of flexibility and agility.
  • Al | 05 Nov 2013, 04:00 PM Agree 0
    Speaking as someone who is a Manager in the Service industry I disagree with Kevin's comments. I think it's important to recognise that providing something for your employees (eg flex time) doesn't need to come at a cost to your customers. There are huge win-wins to be found from getting the right balance with flexible work arrangements. For starters surely loyal employees are going to help to grow your business at a greater rate? As long as the right discussions and processes are in place so flexiwork is improving engagement then this should be helping to drive business improvement, productivity and growth.
  • RivercityIR | 05 Nov 2013, 05:07 PM Agree 0
    Al is correct. Its how you engage the employee about the flexible arrangements is what is key to its success or failure. Employers have forgotten how to speak to employees, HR have a bad reputation, and employers suffer from bad advice from lawyers and employer associations. I challenge anyone to show me exactly in the Act where it says you can't have flexibility or productivity improvements.
  • kevin | 07 Nov 2013, 11:03 AM Agree 0
    It would appear as though most of the comments from others do not involve multiple work sites and 24/7 operations. The only point I really wanted to make was that the employees "availability" now drives when the "choose" to work and this is impacting the provision of customer service. For example if the bus drivers decided they wanted to work 9am to 3pm how would you imagine people would get to work and if you think that is rediculous we now have twice as many shifts as people to canter to their different daily needs. Not against all the good things that flexibility can deliver but one size does not fit all and on 1.1.14 it will get tougher.
  • Al | 07 Nov 2013, 11:22 AM Agree 0
    Kevin - perhaps consider your recruitment processes and wider business strategy to determine how flexible work arrangements can work best in your business.
  • Callum | 07 Nov 2013, 05:27 PM Agree 0
    There appears to be a misconception that requests for flexibility must be accepted. I agree with RoverCityIR's point that organisations must get better at communicating with employees. Talk to them about their request and what impact it may have on the business and ultimately on client service. If the request is unreasonable or is likely to have a material, negative impact on clients then the organisation may be on solid ground to reject the request. However, organisations needs to improve their ability to find common ground - just because an employee presents a particular request, does not mean it is all or nothing. Perhaps there is another option that provides more of a win-win. If employers are upfront and transparent with the employees and genuinely consider requests and explain their position (especially when a request cannot be accommodated), there is far more chance of the employee remaining engaged.
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