Employers know all too well the wistful daydreaming that comes with the summer months. As temperatures rise, holidays increase, and childcare demands become 6 weeks long, employers could turn down the rising heat workers are facing, by offering flexibility when they need it most.
So as summer gets into full swing, Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, the workforce management expert, explains how businesses can embrace flexibility over the next few months.
“Flexible working, in whatever form it takes, is one of our most powerful tools for improving working lives across the UK, and at Quinyx we believe that flexibility should be for everyone – whether you call a boardroom, a shop floor or a coffee shop your office. What we need moving forward is a change in mindset amongst businesses and for them to create an open dialogue between employees and employers. It’s only then that we’ll be able to ensure that flexibility becomes the norm – not an exception, reward or perk.”
Plan for the holiday season
Summer sees an influx of holidays come through the diary, which can leave employees stretched and struggling to find cover when needed. As soon as requests start coming in, managers should ensure every day off is accounted for so that action can be taken if certain weeks are looking particularly thin.
On top of keeping an eye on staff holidays, managers should also consider if major summer events will see some areas of their business more stretched than others (e.g, summer sales making stores busier, or sports events filling out pubs and bars). Making sure this is factored into plans means that there shouldn’t be any surprises when staff starts to jet off to enjoy a break.
Think of the children (and parents!)
According to our research, 10% of the UK working population goes as far as to say that their family life is suffering because of a lack of flexibility at work – a statistic that can only be exacerbated by parents facing a 6 week (or sometimes longer!) summer. By providing flexible working to all staff members, parents, in particular, facing a childcare conundrum can move shifts where needed, start later or even work from home to help ease stress around childcare.
Try something small
Flexibility doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul all at once. By starting small in the summer months and letting people finish early, or take longer lunch breaks – employers can see the difference this makes in productivity and engagement, and use this as a benchmark for bigger more long term changes. One of the biggest issues holding back flexibility is fear this will reduce the amount of work achieved, despite the fact, all the stats suggest the opposite. By taking small steps in summer and seeing the benefit, managers will be in good stead to suggest bigger plans in the future.
Summer holidays can be an exciting time for some, but as productivity wanes and the stress of higher workloads, or children out of school, becomes more apparent, there really is no better time to try a flexible working policy. Small steps at this point in the year can mean great groundwork for future plans, and as summer sizzles on, your employees will thank you through higher engagement levels, and by being more productive.
About the author: Quinyx was founded in 2005 by CEO Erik Fjellborg after a summer spent working at McDonald’s. After witnessing how difficult it can be for managers to sort shifts manually, Erik built one of the world’s first fully web-based Workforce Management solutions to do the heavy lifting. McDonald’s loved Erik’s solution and became Quinyx’s first customer.