5 management tips to make flexible working ‘work’ for you

The Steer Workplace team

To say the world has been introduced to new working practices over the last year would be an understatement. However, even as many countries are seeing employees starting to return to the office, many of these practices continue as part of the “new normal.”

One of these practices is remote, hybrid, or flexible working. With many organisations and employees realising that they prefer this mode of work, and as a company that has run this way since its inception, here are our 5 top tips for managers looking to make flexible working run as smoothly as possible.

Tip #1- Update and structure your technology

Technology is the backbone of remote work. Yet, according to a report, 94% of business owners and individuals in management admit that the glitches in technology negatively affect both their businesses and their employees while working in remote settings.

Switching from app to app and simultaneously using multiple tools that don’t sync with each other can deter progress and trigger anxiety within employees. The right tool can make so many of these issues go away. So spend the time deciding which tools will work for your business, and don’t be afraid to update or invest in programs or apps that can help streamline communication and coordination.

Tip #2- Focus on Work-life balance

A remote or hybrid work setting may come across as the perfect setup for maintaining a work-life balance, but in reality, it can be a far cry from it. Nearly 70% of employees are experiencing symptoms of burnout while working remotely.

It is normal to want a sense of control over your team, especially when they are out of sight, but maintaining a balance is more important in the long run.

Make sure you spend the time to really make the norms and expectations crystal clear. For example, let employees know that it is OK to take breaks. Just because a notification comes in at 10pm, it doesn’t mean they need to respond to it immediately and reassure them that no one is checking their online/away/busy status 24/7!

Tip #3- Discuss and decide what work is best done remotely and what is best done in an office

According to stats by McKinsey , flexible working is here to stay. However, in a hybrid setting, the different schedules of team members and the different in-house/remote statuses of each employee can be confusing. As a manager, you need to discuss these questions with the team and devise a plan:

  • Does the work require being in the office, or can it be easily done remotely?
  • Is the employee more comfortable working remotely or in the office?
  • What is the extent of collaboration with others needed for each employee’s job?
  • How to match the remote/in-office schedules of team members who need to collaborate?

Once a plan is devised, make sure everyone knows it and sticks to it.

Tip #4- Clearly define the lines of communication

With multiple mediums of communication, it is difficult to gauge which one to use for more informal communication, which one for formal communication, or where to share a certain task. To keep things running smoothly:

  • Really spend the time to choose the platform most suited to the task. Switching costs can be high, so it helps to get the decision right the first time.
  • Put together straightforward written guidelines which outline your process.
  • Stick to the process rigorously; things can quickly get messy otherwise!

Tip #5- Work on effective onboarding

New remote hires cannot be expected to be on the same footing as those who worked in a face-to-face setting before. Therefore, design a comprehensive onboarding process that explains the company culture, line of reporting, expectations, and group dynamics. This will help to smooth the onboarding process and make new hires as productive and as happy as possible.

So there you have it, 5 tips to help make flexible working run smoothly at your organisation. As always, if you want to streamline your office management tasks, including managing a flexible workforce, be sure to check out Evac One.