3 tips for creating a winning flexible working policy
We see dozens of flexible working policies each month; some are great and some are less so. We have highlighted three key tips for making sure you have one of the great ones!
28th Jul 2021
Flexible working policies are difficult to craft - on the one hand you want to express that your organisation is forward-thinking and flexible; but on the other hand you want to ensure that the risk of an employee exploiting flexible working is mitigated.
We have three tips to help you to write a winning flexible working policy, and have included a template at the bottom of this blog too!
1 - Make a minimum commitment and be clear about it
Most companies rely on culture and word of mouth to communicate what flexibility is available. While a culture of flexibility is arguably more important than policies and contracts, it doesn’t hurt to put it in writing.
We recommend that a clear statement of the flexibility that everyone has access to is made at the beginning of your flexible working policy. This can vary between teams, but ensure that each team’s flexible working environment is outlined up front.
This could be as simple as “we offer 1 day per week at home, which can be chosen at the employee’s discretion”.
Additional flexibility can, of course, be on offer, but setting a minimum guideline means that managers know how they must allow people to work, and in the case of misinterpretation of acceptable flexible working, the minimum commitment can be referred to.
2 - Over-communicate what the company’s stance on flexibility is
If you leave room for doubt, then you’re opening yourself up to people worrying about whether they truly can work flexibility. You’re also creating a higher chance of people exploiting the grey areas.
Do you want people in a minimum of 2 days per week? Then say so, and state if those are to be set days or not.
Do you want to work around core hours? Then state what those are and be sure to state that meetings should be booked inside those core hours.
We also suggest including reference to benefits like dog-friendliness, enhanced parental leave, and work from anywhere schemes in your flexible working policy. These do also need stand alone policies to go alongside the flexible working policy, though.
3 - Give people the option to openly request additional flexibility
Ideal flexible working scenarios vary from person to person, and although you cannot cater for everyone’s perfect scenario, there needs to be a clear statement of willingness to engage in conversations about flexible working beyond your minimum commitment.
Inclusivity leads to better diversity in an organisation, but a diverse workforce means diverse circumstances. Ensure that there is a clause referring to bespoke flexible working requests, and the process that an individual must go through to ask for a different working arrangement.
We do not suggest that all flexible working arrangements need to go through this request process, as this is not truly flexible working. We suggest that a minimum commitment that is available company-wide be available to everyone without a request.
Crafting a flexible working policy can seem daunting, but the most important factor is being clear about what is on offer at your organisation. Employees will not feel comfortable without clarity on what is and isn’t available.