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Flexible Working or Traditional Rules? Here’s How To Choose The Best

Flexible Working or Traditional Rules? Here's How To Choose The Best_Yellow Spark
Photo Source: Unsplash

Dear Sir,

Re: Application for working remotely for a month

I am writing to request a flexible working pattern for the next one month as I have a medical emergency in the family.

I understand that having a month-long leave might not work for either the company or for me. I would, therefore, request you to kindly allow me to work remotely under flexible timings. I assure that I would do my best to meet all deadlines and fulfil all my duties which I would otherwise have completed from office.

Hoping you would understand my situation and approve my request.

Thanking you,

There’s a high probability that in your vast experience of running and managing a business, you might have come across many such requests. Some requesting to work remotely. Others requesting to work with flexible timings and yet others asking for both. More often than not, the reasons provided are also quite genuine though you may or may not have obliged under the name of ‘Company policy’.

But before we get into this debate, let’s understand the concept of Flexible Working.

Flexible Working or Flexi Working is a relatively new but very popular concept that’s catching up the pace in the corporate sector. This western work style aims to break free from the rigid 9am-5pm work timings and provide a more comfortable working environment for the employees. It also frees the employees from the confines of cubicles and desks, allowing them to work remotely from anywhere they like (in most cases).

To me it means work when there is work and be available when there is no work. If an employee is willing to work on these rules, diligently of course, then there is merit in exploring flexi work with such a person. Often companies that experiment with flexi working fail because they mis-interpret flexi hours with ‘always being available’. Being available does not mean 24×7; it means being available during the regular work hours.

Flexi-working can be done in either or both of the following ways

• Flexi work hours
• Flexi work locations

Each one has its own sets of benefits and challenges for the employees as well as the employers. If you are considering to implement this in your organisation, it is necessary that you get the facts in place.

• Flexible work hours

Flexi-timings or Flexi hours is where you don’t set a dedicated work time for a punch in and punch out for your employees. Quite a few creative organisations prefer this kind of a setup. They have their office open throughout the day and employees can walk in and complete their 8 hours at any time. This ‘staggered hours’ approach where employees come at different times is being adopted by several firms across the country and the globe. Though for better sharing of information and syncing of tasks, employers may insist that everyone is in the office at a particular time, say 11:00 to 03:00 PM.

– For the employers

This becomes beneficial for the employers as they could schedule work for extended hours. It also helps in reducing the attrition as employees work based on the timings they are most comfortable with. This would in-turn contribute towards increasing the productivity of your employees. The office resources are utilised to their maximum potential rather than just same 8-9 hours a day.

– For the employees

Employees love Flexi-timings because they can avoid the peak hour rush while commuting to work every morning. They feel more in control of their time and can have a better work-life balance. Those having more creative/focused scope of work can schedule their tasks during the silent hours to get more done.

• Flexible working location

Flexi work locations are preferred by people who ‘invest’ or ‘waste’ a lot of time to travel to their workplace. This has its own sets of benefits based on which set of the spectrum you are. Employees prefer mostly working from home or from a remote location. They can even work while travelling, thus, ensuring there is no gap or delay in work.

– For the employers

Having people working from remote locations will ensure major savings on the office space front. A lesser number of people coming to office also means lesser parking space. This would also help you reduce the number of absenteeism requests and late walk-ins due to traffic or other avoidable reasons. Also, since there are lesser distractions, there is a higher chance of improving the productivity of the employees.

– For the employees

Employees get the obvious benefit of saving on the time they otherwise spend on commuting to and from the office. They could then utilise the same time in other things. Remote working helps them to focus on other things that matter to them. For eg: in the example at the start of this article, you saw an employee asking for flexible work location. Had that employee come to the office, his/her mind would still be at home. Remote location helps them with this issue and improves their work-life balance.

Although working in flexible environment sounds to be a good alternative, it has its own set of challenges that you need to deal with. To begin with, there may arise trust issues between you and your employees because you don’t know if they are seriously working as they would do in an office environment. Similarly, communicating important things to the team who come in at different times or work at different locations might pose an issue.

You can bridge the gap of communication and trust by promoting and following a two-way communication pattern between you and your employees as well as among the employees themselves. Having occasional team-building activities can also help the team gel better and give you a better idea of how each one functions. Having policies related to work hours and tracking the flexible timings need to be in place before you implement it. This would help you save on any conflicts or ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situations.

Flexible working is a concept of the west but like other things from there, it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Ensure that the flexible working environment suits your needs and that of your employees too. Have policies and guidelines in place before you implement a new change to save you any trouble later.

Want to migrate to a flexi working, get in touch with us – contact@yellowspark.in

Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.