CIPD handily produced a report about the benefits of flexible working just as I was working on this issue with a client. We were analysing the results of their first employee engagement survey, which shows that people are unable to cope with their workload without working extended hours. The workforce being engaged and highly productive, we conclude this is not a problem. YET. However we want to take action now to prevent this from becoming one.

It is clear from research evidence and my own experience that giving people control over their work and their time reduces high workload stress. It might even help people work smarter, which then reduces the workload. However the mindset change this requires is hard. We are used to the notion that working means ‘being there’ and that it working from home creates ‘too many distractions.’

This mindset change isn’t just about managing your team. It’s also about managing yourself. I know many people who hold themselves to such high standards that they cannot bring themselves to work flexibly or from home because it doesn’t fit their self-image. This then passes on to their teams.

The solution? There isn’t a one-size fits all but relax the rules, make flexible working part of the organisational conversation, positively of course. Oh and do make sure that your computer systems allow remote working. Surprisingly for these times there are still companies that are behind the curve on this.

CIPD report contains much useful guidance on this topic that might just help the UK raise its poor productivity rate.

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Janice Caplan

© Janice Caplan 2019