Managing staff asking to work more flexibly
Updated: Feb 2
Since April 2003, all Employers have been legally obliged to consider / accommodate requests from staff for them to work more flexibly, to suit them caring for children under 6 or for any parent with a disabled child under 18, or more recently (2007) caring for aged parents and further widened (in 2014) to include all employees (with or without caring responsibilities) to work more flexibly, from home or wherever.
This could mean allowing any individual staff to start or finish at different times to the standard 9-5 and to the rest of your staff and allows any member of staff to regularly work at a time and location that suits them better, by agreement with you.
On request, any employer is now obliged, within 3 months of a written employee request, to consider how they could best facilitate a request for more flexible working and have their contract of employment changed to support their new working arrangements.
This is one of the real reasons Directors need to seriously consider getting more output from your staff and for your company to learn how work smarter and more Productively, so that in the event of a request for reduced working hours or work location, by one or more of your experienced staff, your business is not hit with reduced working hours by your staff or reduced sales or slowing down your customer service or fewer goods made or delivered.
And having your staff work Smarter and more Productively means you will not be forced to pay the advertising and recruitment costs for another member of staff, to make up for one of your staff deciding to work flexibly. Another reason is that it is also more profitable immediately, to get your staff to work smarter and more Productively, which always helps.
If you are considering recruiting more staff, before you do so, have you really considered why your current staff can’t actually cope with their work and why you think you need to recruit another member to the team? Rather than ask everyone to work overtime, are there any Productivity initiatives / measures / actions you could make to, or around your staff, to enable them to do the same amount of work or even a bit more, with one less member of staff, temporarily or permanently?
Have you really considered if the team could work together better somehow, is there some piece of technology, or extra piece of kit, they could usefully use which will help the team get through more work, without working longer hours? Can you encourage the team to cooperate better together, change the way the team works together, rather than add 1 more person to the team, in a couple of months (depending on how soon the new member of staff could be interviewed, selected, work their current notice and start working with you ...…… then they would need to be trained up and all this could take another 2-3 months).
Have you considered managing without that extra member of staff, to see how your current staff can work without that person who has left, temporarily or permanently? Would some IT training be a constructive replacement for the lost member of staff, so the finance staff can process more invoices each month for example, would changing the team’s working environment facilitate more efficient work flows and enable them to maintain their output with one less person?
If a woman has left on maternity leave, for 12-18 months or that member of staff has reduced the number of hours he works, to care for and to organise carers for his parents, is it worth considering a trial, to see how your remaining staff work more Productively to cover this absence and learn how to compensate with one less member of the team ?
Does the existing team deliver a high level of errors or rework (5-10-20%?), because they aren’t delivering 100% of their work, to standard, first time? So is the team better focusing on getting it 100% right first time and would it not be better organising the team some external quality training, to eliminate their high level of rework first, rather than just add another person who will take another 2-3 months to train up ?
Does the team leader just need a bit more practical support, or even some external HR training? Does the team leader need some people management training, or is she still comfortable in managing her team and then training up a new person, when you’ve recruited to help them, in 2-3 months’ time ?
Is the team’s work suffering Ups & Downs in the amount of work the team gets through each month, Is there a particular reason for their Ups & Downs? Can a more regular amount of work be delivered, how ?
Could their physical work environment be adapted to improve how they work and the amount of work they deliver each week, each month? Would better lighting, or extra storage space, or more work space help or fewer distractions ?
Could some of the team’s more mundane, lss productive work be taken off them and done better by someone else, like restocking of shelves, or paperwork, or do you need to stop them attending some useless meetings?
The cost of employing another person is £30-40-50,000 once all recruitment costs, salary and indirect costs like training and extra office space costs are included, so even if you only spend 1/3rd (£10,000) of that, getting your team to improve the way they work, to work Smarter, that’s still quite a big saving? So, it’s definitely worth trying to get more out of changing the way the team works than just employing another person?
Is your business able to measure how much work that team currently delivers each week or month, so that you can measure how much work that staff member who has left will cost you in terms of lost work? And will recruiting an extra person really add to the normal amount of work required, quickly?
Are your financial and non-financial reporting (management) systems good enough to measure the extra output employing one more person would contribute, which would help you assess the need for another person next time? Can your management systems measure the actual reduced output or reduced sales or reduced work of that person who has left you?
If you need any help with making our teams work Smarter, more efficiently without working longer hours, assessing the extra value your current team could deliver without that person, please contact us.