How do you make flexible working work beyond a crisis?
The Forever Flex* report is here to help.
At Flexpo last year, the pioneers behind the Forever Flex report presented highlights from the initial phase of the research; bringing the people behind the policy to life and showing what’s really possible when a business decides to say yes to trying flex.
During this session, Lynda Thwaite, group marketing and communications director at Sir Robert McAlpine is joined by Lucy Proudfoot, senior consultant at Claremont Communications, to discuss the report findings.
Setting the scene…
The last year changed the world of work beyond recognition. Dramatic changes have triggered organisations to question long-established norms. While in principle this is a good thing, there is a real risk that people are going to conflate this forced remote working with good flex working, missing all the benefits and nuances that come with a broader way of flexible working. Hurried flex, without the necessary strategies and support systems in place, could be detrimental to the working world.
So how did organisations cope? What worked and what didn’t? And how can flex be used for decades to come, for the benefit of all?
The report brings together the collective wisdoms, stories and experiences (good and bad) of making flexible working from a cross-section of UK employers and broadly covers three areas:
- Snapshot of where we are- people have ‘flexperimented and they want more’
- What can we do? The HOW-a distillation of collective experience which includes:
a) ‘Crisis- tunity’. With crisis comes a great opportunity for change but let’s do it with caution and do it right!
b) Keeping control– how to understand the power dynamics between colleagues and what might be getting in the way of good flexible working. Trust is the number one ingredient in making flexible working work. What helps build trust and what might destroy it is critical and the implementation of successful flexible working within teams is heavily linked to how in control of the situation they felt.
c) Beyond Education– this is a collection of the 8 most common themes that came up in making flexible working work which includes:
- A need for clearly designed boundaries and expectations to help people feel more in control
- Reframing flex so that it is more relevant to your business and brand (the very term can be problematic for some businesses with a perception that it is perhaps too millennial, a bit incongruous of their vision of what their organisation stands for)
- Going beyond HR- escalating the conversation so that everyone is involved and it’s not one person or team driving the policy. Communicate well and drive change from the top
3. Employers like you- their hopes for the future hope, the ups and downs, the successes, failures and ultimately why it’s worth persevering.
At Flexpo Business Digital Summit 2021, we will be looking at the Forever Flex report one year on, with practical insights around what is working successfully for UK businesses who have implemented flexible and hybrid ways of working.
Take a look at the 2021 summit agenda here: https://flexpobusiness.vfairs.com/en/agenda-page
*The ‘Forever Flex’ report, was commissioned by parenting website Mother Pukka, funded by construction business, Sir Robert McAlpine and conducted by Claremont. This fantastic practical guide, which was the result of surveys and interviews with 1,420 employers across a broad cross-section of the UK, can be viewed in full here: https://www.motherpukka.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Forever_Flex_report_FINAL-03.11.20.pdf