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Importance of flexibility in a changing world.

As the world starts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and people have optimism once again, what has the last 12 months taught employers about offering flexibility to their workforce, and what has it taught workers about their need/desire for flexibility in their careers

The setup under lockdown, with workers based at home alongside children, family members and housemate, seems untenable in the long run.  As employee expectations change regarding their jobs, careers, and work-life balance, the need to juggle their job with other responsibilities such as caring, home schooling means not working 9-5 is becoming more common place.  

Traditionally businesses have mainly focused on ‘being present’ as a key measurement of  employee’s performance. Forward thinking businesses however focus on ‘productivity’ empowering and trusting employees to deliver at a time that suits them. 

Post-pandemic working may be less about where we work and more about a cultural step-change that sees companies offering their workers a greater level of autonomy. 

Employers should consider their Flexible Working Policy and  have the right communication tools in place, the more flexible workers you have the more you need to up your game. Having a clear Flexible Working Policy means everyone understands what is expected.  Create a culture that supports all demographics,  train managers to support their teams remotely, and communicate clear boundaries of expected behaviours.

The people profession has a key role to play in unlocking the full benefits of flexible and agile working. As businesses commence their search for the next generation of talent to support the recovery process, they must ensure their hiring strategy includes the balance and flexibility that employees have come to rely on and expect during 2020.