This is an insightful piece by Halebury's Janvi Patel on the need for employers to embrace flexible / agile working. Whilst this has undoubtedly become widely accepted in most businesses over the past ten years, there can still be a perception of it being an "easy option". As an agile worker myself, I know my output on those days I work from home often far exceeds those days when I am in the office, given the longer working day with no commute time and less distractions. But as Janvi says, agile working does require flex from both sides and just as it is sometimes more efficient to be remote, sometimes there may be a need to "flex up" and be more present in the office. A true agile worker must be flexible as the business needs.
Agile working is not the easy option - it is the efficient option.
In a world of increasingly blurred boundaries between work and life, with constant noise, mobile technology meaning you are always "on" 7 days a week, 365 days a year, flexible or agile working gives us a degree of control to regain some balance in our lives, leading to happier employees - which we all know equals happier clients.
The individuals we hire do not need to be micro-managed but are instead self-starters. Aligning remuneration with outputs rather than the hours they have worked requires individuals who are disciplined, organised and highly motivated. Last, and perhaps most important, flexible workers must understand that flexibility works both ways. If the workload is particularly heavy, a flexible employee will have no problem in “flexing up” to get the work completed. Our lawyers work on this basis and will often invest a lot of upfront time in person with a client at the beginning of a project to ensure they are properly embedded into the business. As we have found, flexible working is beneficial for businesses and employees alike, even in sectors where long hours are entrenched. For us, the client gets a more efficient service and the employee is happier.