More than one way
The business case for flexibility must be done at a “micro” level, because not all jobs can be done in the same way – and a single flexible policy is as bad as none at all. The audit creates a non-personal framework, which enables managers to refuse as well as agree to certain flexible options.
For example, some jobs demand a high level of personal client contact or teambuilding, while others can be achieved via remote technology. The volume of work can also be a factor, and companies have cited all of these as proof that senior jobs cannot be done flexibly.
Put to the test
The audit creates a framework to guide managers through the process of implementing flexibility, and whether it is appropriate. It also creates the business case for what a pilot project should look like.
All organisations are diverse and the pilot project should not be limited to one department as its experience may not translate to others. For example, the working experience of a call centre will be different to that of marketing or accounts.
It is advisable to start with a sector or group of people who are already disposed to working flexibly, and while everyone should know about the exercise, only volunteers should participate. The decision on whom to pilot, and from which departments, should emerge from the audit and by consensus with management and employees.
Feedback is also essential after the pilot project is tested to discuss what did and did not work. For example, the company Rotary Watches found that while some departments willingly embraced flexibility, others had some specific objections.
When you take your re-worked pilot – measured against your original objectives – to the next stage of establishing a framework for flexibility throughout the organisation, you will notice a further benefit. This is a revitalised business culture which recognises and adapts to individual needs while keeping a focus on achieving corporate ambitions.