Flexible working practices and the era of trust

Leeson Medhurst, Head of Workplace Strategy Agile working, Hybrid working, Design

A new era is upon us in the workplace. Technology and trust has led the way to free people from their desks and, in return, companies are transforming their working practices and their workplace.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working can be defined as a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from locations other than your workplace. It can also include working part-time, or changing the days you work from a weekday to a weekend.

The benefits of flexible working

A huge advantage of working flexibility is a better work/life balance. Without the constraints of operating within one place between nine to five from Monday to Friday, employees can make time for the other parts of life's responsibilities. It offers the chance for exercising in lieu of commuting, adapting working hours to manage childcare, or working from home to carry out life admin between tasks.

Flexible work also allows for employees to schedule their time to work effectively and efficiently. While 62% of people believe teamwork is best performed in the workplace, carrying out focused work away from the distractions of the office hubbub can be very beneficial. Equally, it offers the opportunity to work from a café or co-working space, to provide an all-important change of scenery.

The challenges of flexible working

Of course, flexibility creates constant change and it’s important to manage the impact of change. How do you promote freedom and choice during times when entire teams need to come together to collaborate? How are junior colleagues, or new starters, immersed into a business without working side-by-side with their teammates everyday? Importantly, how do you ensure that those working remotely are developed and mentored equally to those operating in the workplace?

Cultivating trust between employees and management helps to deal with the challenges of flexible working. Communicating openly about how individuals can best fulfil their own job role while working well as part of the wider team is key. Strong employer/employee relationships help individuals to feel valued and motivated and this also helps to instil trust which will make the implementation of flexible working practices much easier.

How to enable flexibility within the workplace

The key to enabling flexibility is technology. Cloud storage, good connectivity and digital systems mean that employees can access information, communicate, and complete tasks anywhere, any time.

Diversifying the physical workplace encourages flexible habits too. Agile working areas like those at Total Media, create an intuitive workplace that offers flexibility and freedom. This creative approach to structuring the office environment gives employees the flexibility to move around and work in whichever environment best suits their workload and personality.

What does flexible working mean for the office?

Flexible working practices unlocks a wealth of opportunity in office interior design. Now, businesses have the chance to reimagine the purpose of the workplace. Embarking on the chance to create a destination, where individuals actively want to venture to in is an exciting prospect. The businesses who do this effectively will benefit hugely. It’s a chance to create a space that fosters a strong sense of connection between colleagues, supports their mental and physical wellbeing while providing the tools and equipment to enable individuals to perform to the best of their ability.

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