Getting your boss to agree to let you work from home can be a tough sell. But what happens after you get the green light to work remotely? In the final episode in the video series, “Stop the Clock: Flexibility at Work, Part 4,” the matter of implementing a flexible work program is explored, and shows how, if everyone is works together (no matter what their location), flex work can work! To watch the complete video, please visit YouTube.
After many meetings and sit-downs, Neil, the boss, has agreed to let a few members of his staff have flexible work schedules. Before people can begin, though, he insists that the flexibility has to be planned and managed; otherwise, the work environment will become utter chaos.
So Neil schedules a meeting with his entire staff to see how flexibility can be implemented successfully. He states that this must be done step by step, so that one person’s flex doesn’t negatively impact others. After all, he claims, if everyone does what suits them, he won’t be able to keep track of his workers—and their productivity.
Implementing the flexible work policy comes with its own share of struggles. The boss’ worst fears are confirmed when he calls one staffer at home…and his young child picks up the phone. “Imagine if I had been a client,” he says to the work-from-home dad. “If we’re less available to customers and suppliers, this isn’t good for business.” One of the staffers suggests using mobile phones; that way, clients won’t have their personal numbers and they can work from anywhere. The boss agrees, stating that he’ll look into insurance, health, and safety questions as they relate to remote workers.
In another instance, a fellow manager mentions seeing one of Neil’s employees at the pool during the daytime. When he questions her, she states that she finished her proposal and that she was taking a break. She adds that not only had she completed her work for the day, but that Neil had mentioned how much he liked her proposal earlier in the morning, too.
Like most managers, Neil’s main concern is that the work will get completed by his staffers. When one of his employees comments that he doesn’t trust them because they are working flexible schedules, he replies, “I trust you but need to see that the work is being done.” He states that it’s his responsibility to hold it all together, but his staff reminds him that it’s up to all of them to hold it together.
The narrator provides an overview of how to successfully implement a flexible work environment. First, you need to concentrate on how to make it work (as opposed to listing all the reasons why it won’t). After all, the boss’ behavior and attitude will influence others, both positively and negatively. It’s important to have clear criteria for measuring success, which can be accomplished by meeting with each individual remote worker, so that way they know what is expected of them. Once that is done, changes should be introduced in a planned way, and on a trial basis. The progress and productivity of the staff should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the program is working. But above all, managers and staff alike should share responsibility for making flexibility work. That will ensure a flexible work environment thrives, both employers and employees are happy, and most importantly, that productivity soars.
photo credit: istockphoto.com