Staff should lead the way by asking employers for flexibility

Since June 2014, all full-time employees of an employer for more than six months have been entitled by law to request flexible working – and to get a decent hearing in return.

But why should members of staff request flexible working?

Flexible working has the potential to change people’s lives by enfranchising them to work and live in a healthier balance, and by helping them take control of their duties. Having said that, it’s not all fun and games, requiring discipline, trust and strong feedback structures in place, but the difference remote working can have on employees wellbeing can be marked, yielding new ideas and greater enthusiasm in day-to-day duties.

Moving towards a digital, less local world.

On a more philosophical note, flexible working is more in keeping with the drift into a fully digital economy. The telecoms, IT, computing and mobile industries all remain the strongest advocates of remote working by stressing the interconnectedness of today’s ever-evolving digital business landscape.

Cloud computing and online data storage systems have revolutionised filing, accounting and office administration, freeing up acres of warehouse space previously occupied by paperwork. The rise in co-working spaces testifies to the spirit of communities and employee groups resisting being tethered to any single location.

Why employers have to listen to the concerns of their workforce.

Tact, diplomacy and empathy are often underrated qualities in a business environment. So when an employee takes the initiative and decides to rebalance their working life to accommodate other interests or commitments outside of work, such considerations should be given the time and thought they deserve.

Children, families and interests in outdoor activities are things that can actually increase productivity by bringing more value and purpose to employees lives. If an employee comes to you looking to work from home, take your time to figure out a solution together rather than responding immediately with a yes or no answer: the employee will probably have thought a great deal about the transition.

For new ideas to flourish, change is essential – of people, places, cultures.

As odd as it may sound, one of the most important evolutionary steps in humankind’s development was outlawing incest and start intermixing with other communities. As the world becomes more globally connected, with communications, migration and trade all becoming easier in theory (despite reactionary political tensions reaching new heights) ideas and innovation are shared and refract off each other. That's how new things are created.

This perceptual shift means that not being tethered to location – more specifically to a big grey building – no longer undermines credibility. There is no need to be concerned that some clients will want the security of visiting a big office: no-one cares. As long as you can do the job well, that’s all that counts.

If you're thinking of taking your business and staff virtual, check out our virtual offices here.