For the sake of a better workplace culture, it makes sense to find a solution that works for the business and your people.
You must also be concrete in defining in which roles are (and are not) open for flexible working. Think about the impact of flexible working on the nature of the worker's role and how it might affect the team dynamic or customer satisfaction.
But there is a word of caution: a ban on flexible working for some roles can create an atmosphere of resentment.
It can also affect talent mobility in your organisation and affect your employer PR - neither of which support your long-term performance.
What’s more, limiting flexible working to lower-skilled or support roles will affect your gender pay gap; leaving you with an unequal workforce and potential criticism from 3rd parties.
A clear procedure for submitting a request
Make sure it's super-simple for your people to request flexible working.
Train managers on this process too, so that they're able to feed information down to their teams and support them should they wish to request flexible working.
A clear procedure for approval or rejection
There’s a chance you’ll get flexible working requests you cannot approve.
Nip problems in the bud by including a clear procedure for rejection in your flexible working policy and include the reasons that would cause a rejection.
This transparency will help avoid upset, resentment and low morale.
Your expectations as an employer
You’ll need to make sure that employees who work flexibly understand the expectations of you and the wider business.
With a strong culture and solid hiring strategy, you should find your employees are motivated enough to work flexibly without the need for detailed expectations, but it’s helpful for you to clarify.
Remote workers are expected to respond to phone calls during their working hours and check in with emails at least twice each day.
Employees who work compressed hours are expected to complete their tasks to a mutually agreed standard.
Term time-only employees must complete their workload before departing for school holidays.
Part-time employees must make sure all team members are aware of their reduced hours through email signatures, instant messenger status and out-of-office notifications.
Remember that as their employer, you also have a part to play. Don’t place pressure on employees to stay late at the office on days they’re due to finish early, and don’t expect them to attend meetings on days they’re out of the office.
How you’ll implement new flexible working arrangements
If your business is new to flexible working, you may wish to include a trial period in your flexible working policy.
This will give the employee, their manager and the business the opportunity to implement and get used to the new flexible working arrangement.
Once the trial is up, you’ll need to include details of how you will amend your employee’s employment contract. Will it be a permanent change or one that’s reviewed on an annual basis?
It’s wise to ensure the process for implementing and reviewing flexible working is the same for all employees. This will help prevent concerns about unfair treatment and will give all employees the confidence in the transparency of your flexible working policy.