There are so many good reasons for adopting flexible working that I simply can’t understand why more people don’t do it. Sure there are all of those well-known reasons… that it’s good for employees, helps with their mental health, improves happiness (or at least reduces stress), it’s a great perk… etc. But that’s all about employees… I mean, who cares about that… I’m interested in what’s good for me… thankfully, the team hasn’t cottoned on yet.
I’m not much for formality when it comes to finding better ways to work… and flexible working is no different… why has a formal policy describing what people can/can’t do if it can be avoided? More formality means more work — and I’ve got enough of that already. Why spend time thinking about what time people should be at work, where they should be, how we’ll manage to cover the office when I can pass that straight over to the team… “Here’s what we need to do… go figure it out… manage your own schedules”.
Voila! I’m free to get on with my life. Not only is it bloody easy… but you get to call it a “self-managed team” and then people think it’s part of some great and modern strategy — shhh don’t spoil the illusion.
When you have rules for start and finish time there’s more stuff too — if you’ve ever employed anyone, I’m sure you’ve had a call, email or text saying — “Sorry, school run is taking longer than expected, I’ll be 15 mins late”… or… “I’ve got an urgent dentist appointment. I’ll be in asap, sorry”
Honestly, I’m not too fussed… in fact, if it didn’t make me sound like a terrible person, I’d go as far as to say that “I just don’t care!”… I do care, sort of, but not about the traffic or that you’re running late (in truth, I almost certainly wouldn’t have thought about it if you hadn’t called).
Despite my obvious disinterest, people will still call to say that their car has a flat tyre and they’ll be in at 9.45, but only because of all you people who have conditioned them into thinking that the clock is more important than the product… shame on you — you’re ruining my quiet time!
There’s another thing… if I make rules about where when how things happen, then there’s an implied expectation that I’m going to manage them somehow… er, no thanks.
Employees will also expect me to decide if they can change their working schedule with requests like, “mind if I don’t work tomorrow but do a little more on Friday?”… I’ll use words like “you’re an adult, I trust you”… and I mean that, but more importantly, I’m trying to decide what to have for lunch… you can make that decision.
It’s not just about those currently working here either… when you remove constraints from work… like where when how… and focus on what you need to achieve instead, your resource pool gets bigger… a lot bigger.
How many people do you imagine need flexible hours to fit around other obligations, like childcare for example?
How many employers do you imagine deal with this requirement by saying… “OK, the hours are 9–3”? It’s a rhetorical question because I don’t know the actual answer but it’s a lot… and what I want to say to them is “THANK YOU”…
I assume these managers aren’t thinking about themselves enough— rather than hiring great people that are capable of getting on with their work (which means less work for me)… they’re making sure the company offices are well utilised by having people sitting in front of them all day.
I’m still not finished… here’s the best bit.
Since I don’t ask them where they are, they don’t expect me to tell them where I am either, which is one less thing to worry about when I’m trying to concentrate on sinking a 20-foot put on the 18th hole… no-one thinks it’s unfair, because there’s no such thing as one rule for one and another for me… there are no rules.
Like I said at the beginning… what’s great about flexible working being truly flexible is that employees think it’s about them!!! Haha!!!