Flexible working means working from anywhere and being able to arrange your working day as you wish. The downside: At worst, you are always available and no longer have a clear boundary between work and free time. Flexible working is the direction in which the world of work is currently moving. This transformation process challenges employees and employers alike.
What exactly is flexible working?
The term "flexible working" refers to various areas. Essentially, a job can be flexible in terms of timing and location. The best known here is flexitime, where an employee can decide for themselves when they start and finish work. In addition to flexible working days, there is also the flexible working week. Here, an employee can independently distribute his 35 to 40 weekly working hours over the five working days and, if necessary, create a day off. Other alternatives for flexible working in terms of time allocation are part-time work or Job sharing.
As far as location flexibility is concerned, flexible working also allows you to work from your home office or from various other locations of your own choosing. A mixture of office and home office is also possible, as is a regular or only partial change of location.
Flexible working models
Through various models of flexible working, employers cater to the needs of their employees. However, they also do justice to varying workloads. Trust-based working time or the lifetime working time account play an important role in this context.
The flexibility of the location meets the modern requirements of the digitalized world. As a rule, nowadays it is no longer necessary for an employee to always be present in the office. Mobile working and home office offer him greater freedom, which have their specific advantages and disadvantages.
The different flexible working models are good for employee motivation and productivity. They can be better adapted to one's own lifestyle and provide a greater work-life balance than a rigid 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. working day in the office. Experience during the Corona Lockdowns also proved that many workers are more productive in a home office than in the office. There are no extended coffee breaks or long chats with colleagues, while working time is better spent and more focused without distractions.
Prerequisites for flexible working
However, in order for flexible working models to be successfully implemented in practice, a number of prerequisites must be met:
The employer must be able to trust his employees.
The framework conditions must be clearly defined.
Employees should decide for themselves to what extent they want to work in the office.
Criteria for measuring employee performance must be established in advance and documented in writing.
Employees who are not physically present also need guidance. However, feedback should not only be given via mails, but if possible in personal conversations and telephone calls.
It is the employer's responsibility to provide a functionally equipped home office. He should also observe common rest periods and not bother his employees with e-mails and calls around the clock.
Especially when teams work online, the manager must pay even more attention to creating and maintaining a sense of community. Team events are therefore even more important in the home office than in teams that physically meet every day.
Team meetings should still take place, with the appropriate software this is also possible virtually without any problems.
Flexible working must be in line with the corporate culture and prevailing values in order to be implemented successfully.
Even in a virtual team, new employees need comprehensive onboarding to ensure they are well received.
Five advantages of flexible working
Access to a larger talent pool
Flexible working allows workers to staff their team with people from all over the world. It is no longer necessary for them to relocate to take up the job
2. reduction of costs
If a company or at least individual departments switch completely to flexible working, this can save costs for premises and ancillary costs.
3. saving time and working more efficiently
Employees also save costs, for example for transport or childcare. They also save on daily commutes to the workplace. They have the opportunity to schedule their own workday and can work when they are personally most efficient - whether that is early in the morning or late in the evening.
The flexibility, freedom of time and place has a motivating effect on most employees. They like their job better and are more motivated to do their work well.
5. less absenteeism and fluctuation
Absenteeism can also be reduced through flexible working: Someone who has a bit of a cold but doesn't have to go to work is more likely to work from home. Here, he doesn't run the risk of infecting his colleagues. Since employees can create their ideal workplace at home, which perfectly matches their Needs they are usually more satisfied with it than with a workplace in an open-plan office. This in turn prevents increased fluctuation.
How does flexible working work?
There are different approaches to flexible working. In one company, this may mean that an employee works completely or partially from the home office. Another company allows employees flex time - they decide when to come into the office and go home. Other companies only specify the weekly working hours and employees are free to put in the hours on fewer than five days.
Some companies offer long-term work accounts that help employees accumulate overtime over the years. This allows for a sabbatical or earlier retirement.
How can I adapt to flexible working?
The biggest advantage of flexible working for you as an employee is that you gain a lot of freedom. You can design your ideal workplace according to your individual ideas. Therefore, be aware of the environment in which you are most productive. What do you need and what distracts you? How can you organize yourself so that you work as efficiently as possible?
When you take stock, you might find that flexible working isn't for you. However, if there is no alternative for your dream job, you should not give up here. Instead, think about what you need to do and how you need to do it in order to be successful in this work model.
What do I have to consider as an employee?
If you work flexibly as an employee, it is also important for you to observe certain rules so that work and free time do not become too blurred and so that you can quickly concentrate on one thing. Burnout ...towards you.
First ask yourself whether flexible working is right for you. Can you handle this freedom or do you need clear structures?
When you work flexibly, you are responsible for your own daily schedule. Clearly define when you work and when you finish work - and stick to it!
Also make it clear to your boss that flexible working doesn't mean you're always available.
You take on more responsibility through flexible working. Acquire an entrepreneurial mindset accordingly.
Since you don't see each other in person every day, communication with your employer is especially important. You should clearly communicate tasks, processes and deadlines.
Set clear goals that you want to achieve by working flexibly.
Find your perfect work rhythm. This fits both your personal daily rhythm and the processes in your team.
Professional knowledge management is especially important when working virtually. Your team should agree on a clear filing system so that everyone can find the content they need at any time.
Even when working online, exchanging ideas with colleagues is important - both about the work itself and maintaining a good collegial relationship.
When working flexibly in your own home, you are responsible for creating a productive environment, building on your strengths and compensating for your weaknesses. If you're naturally disciplined, this will be much easier. If not, you need to figure out the best way to improve your performance.
Flexible working: What do I have to consider as a manager?
Communication is the basis for effective leadership from the home office. Project planning tools or overview tables should always be up to date. As a manager, you have the role of a moderator - you should inform everyone in your team about the current progress. You can also motivate your employees with good communication. They need to know that their work is meaningful, then they will be intrinsically motivated.
You don't see your employees in the office every day anymore, so it's even more important that you trust them. As far as working hours are concerned, you should allow your team to freely organize their working day. However, you can set certain core times when meetings or calls take place and everyone has to be available.
It is also important that the time tracking works well. There are various tools that you can use for this purpose. This is mainly to protect your employees for overwork. It's difficult to draw a clear line between work time and time off in a home office. Support your team by documenting the hours worked and keeping track of them.
Flexible working is essential in times of digital transformation and the pandemic more topical than ever. There are various concepts on how flexible working can succeed. On the one hand, employees are called upon to structure themselves well and to maintain a high level of Personal initiative to develop. On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the employer to create the framework conditions for a functioning Home Office and motivate its employees with the right communication strategy and contemporary digital leadership.
How you do that Potential To learn more about how you can better develop your employees, prevent burn-outs and bore-outs, and achieve your own career goals faster, read our "Ten Business Coaching Tips for Your Career". Stay in the flow and balance your work-life balance! The Workbook you can easily download.
10 Business Coaching Tips for Your Career
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