Flexible working gives people the opportunity to change their hours, days or the location where they work. Flexi-working allows people to work remotely, avoid travelling in peak hour traffic and work around personal commitments.
- The benefits of flexi-working
- Find out about the technology that makes it possible
- Is flexi-working for you?
- Case studies
Flexi-working allows employees to better manage workloads and personal commitments.
Commuting to work can be stressful. Travelling outside of peak hours and working from home can help to reduce stress and peak congestion. It can also benefit the environment and the economy.
Key benefits for employees
- Less time, energy and money spent commuting.
- Better work-life balance.
- Lower stress levels.
- Improved focus and productivity when working.
- Greater job satisfaction.
- Enhanced wellbeing.
Key benefits for employers
- Easier to attract more diverse talent.
- Better staff engagement and retention.
- Increased staff commitment.
- Greater staff productivity.
- Decreased absenteeism.
- Less pressure on staff parking and office space.
Examples of flexi-working
It can be a permanent or daily arrangement, flexi-working just 1 or 2 days a week could be a great choice if it fits with your business or work schedule.
- Working from home or another location (satellite office), also known as teleworking.
- Working a non-standard week (Tuesday to Saturday).
- Flexible working hours (variable start/finish times, a compressed working week, for example, a nine day fortnight).
- Job sharing.
- Taking time off in lieu of extra hours worked.
- Swapping shifts.
There's a range of technology available to allow staff and their workplaces to telework, stay connected with colleagues and access business information. Most staff need nothing more than a computer compatible with their workplace system and a broadband connection.
Most companies have secure access arrangements, check out your company’s policy and procedures with your Information Technology department.
Most software tools don’t need specialist technology. These include video communications, online file sharing and project management tools. Teleworkers just need to have access to the same software that is available at work.
Limited technology options don't have to inhibit some amount of telework, for example, working offline for a day is okay when you are in phone contact with colleagues.
Jobs are a collection of tasks. Some tasks may need to be undertaken at the workplace at a certain time, and some may be able to be carried out away from the workplace.
Flexi-working may not suit all business environments, for example, staff may need to work shift patterns to maintain factory productivity, or if they work in a profession or industry where they are required to be on-site in order to carry out their jobs (eg. medical staff, teachers/lecturers).
Employees have the right to request a change to their working arrangements, and employers are required to respond to their request in writing within one month. Supervisors may allow teleworking for employees who have the right tasks, abilities and circumstances in order to work flexibly.
- Find out more about flexi-working policies on the Business NZ website.
Studies show that people who work from home can be more productive than their office-based counterparts. They have fewer interruptions, manage their time better and often work longer hours due to time saved from the daily commute. The key is to focus on outcomes and results.
Checking the hours your employee has worked should not be an issue if tasks and assignments are being completed to a high standard and within the required timeframes. Successful flexi-working requires an element of trust from both the employee and employer.
Keeping in touch with flexi-workers and updating them with ongoing developments and training ensures they continue to feel part of the company.
- MRCagney (16 employees) have implemented flexi-working to enhance the wellbeing of their employees.
Staff are able to travel when it suits them. Many employees tend to arrive closer to 9:30am which reduces travel time (people travelling outside of the peak on uncongested networks travel faster) and avoids contributing to peak travel demands.
Employees are free to work from home and/or remotely when it suits. This flexibility has been made possible by technologies such as videoconferencing, remote email/server access, cloud computing systems, and is supported by an office culture that values sustainability and responsibility.
- The Hospitality Association of New Zealand (15 full-time staff) has 8 regional managers that flexi-work full-time to give them more flexibility and improve customer service.
Since introducing flexi-working, customer satisfaction has gone up and staff turnover has gone down. Hospitality NZ gives each regional manager suitable equipment to undertake their job at home or in cafés and also developed a specific health and safety plan.
“It is far more productive working from home as you can concentrate on your work and don’t get interrupted a lot”- Regional Manager, Sara Tucker.
Sara’s advice for successful flexi-working is to ensure the company allows people to stay connected with colleagues. Weekly conference calls between team members, effective communication technology and a results focused management approach is also important.