Growing employee interest in working a four-day working week, as well as hybrid and flexible working could present challenges for businesses unless they have systems in place to effectively manage staff, warns Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director at Activ Absence.
A recent survey from the charity Be The Business found that more than a million British companies employing three million workers could move to a four-day working week after the pandemic. 18% of firms were considering the idea to boost employees’ productivity.
Other research from Instant Offices found that nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents said they wanted flexible hours to help them cope with the mental health impact of working remotely, and nearly half (45%) wanted a four-day week.
Adrian says, “The pandemic has accelerated interest in flexible working, shorter weeks and remote working, and this looks set to stay. Working flexibly can bring many health and wellbeing benefits to people.
But managing a flexible workforce, who aren’t doing the regular nine to five, can be tricky and employers will need to have systems and policies in place as life starts to return to the new normal.”
Adrian adds, “It is likely businesses will operate quite differently to how they did pre-pandemic, with people working in different ways. But employers will need to ensure it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on company culture and camaraderie, as well as the business itself.
“Including people in team meetings and business events, even if they are working remotely is essential. It’s easy to forget people working at home but organising virtual coffee breaks and Friday drinks can be another way to include everyone outside of team meetings.
“Checking in with people working away from the office regularly to make sure they are well and that they feel part of the team, as well as making wellbeing a priority and encouraging breaks away from their desk no matter where they are working is key.
“Everyone in the organisation needs to know where people are at all times too. Absence management technology can give this visibility and ensure people know if employees are working at home, off sick or on holiday.
“It is a great tool for being able to introduce flexible working and a four-day week easily and successfully, ensuring its business as usual for the organisation no matter where people choose to work.”