Flexible working boosts motivation, makes your staff more productive – and you can try it without spending thousands. Sceptical? Read on as I demolish the top myths about working flexibly.
Myth 1: Flexible workers are less productive because they can get away with it
Research shows that working from home can boost productivity because it reduces the number of distractions and interruptions.
Myth 2: People can’t work effectively in a noisy environment like a cafe or bar
Sure, it’s not always appropriate. But a change of environment often helps people to think more creatively and look at problems in a different way.
Myth 3: It’s hard to work as a team when people are in different places
Not as long as you have the right tools. You can share ideas with collaboration software, communicate fast in teleconferencesand answer questions via instant messaging.
Myth 4: It will cost a lot to buy the equipment we need to work effectively
You might need to invest in some new technology, like notebook computers. But you can make big savings in other areas, like office space and travel costs. But sometimes it pays to invest in longer-lasting, reliable equipment. This is especially true of computers where a a consumer PC might not be suitable for serious business use. See How to choose a reliable Notebook PC for more information.
Myth 5: Flexible workers watch daytime TV and take boozy lunches
Have some faith. The responsibility of flexible working motivates many people. Your employees will respond well when you treat them like grown-ups.
Myth 6: Flexible working is a slippery slope to a ruined work-life balance
It doesn’t have to be that way. Be disciplined, set clear boundaries between work and personal time – and turn the technology off at the end of the day.
Myth 7: I need everyone in the office in case something goes wrong
It’s easy to make sure someone’s in your building at all times. In any case, flexible workers are a phone call away. If a problem’s really serious, it probably won’t matter where they are.
Myth 8: If I let the sales team work away, we’ll miss opportunities
Not if you use call-forwarding to pass enquiries to the right people, and have an online tool so employees can indicate when they’re unavailable.
Myth 9: Flexible working’s not right for our business
Most businesses can benefit from some kind of flexible working. For instance, employees may appreciate the chance to vary their hours, arriving late to avoid the rush hour.
Myth 10: It’ll be a big effort to start working flexibly
Most mobile phones can send email and access the internet. An ultraportable computer can be yours for under £300. So why not give it a go?