Flexible working – Much more than laptops, clear desk policies and Fridays off!

March 6, 2018

Many businesses we talk to here at The Beech Centre have flexible working somewhere towards the top of their priority list. The driver for this is very often a practical one of having too many people and not enough space with the simple answer being to introduce flexible working.

But is it really that simple?

I think there are ownership and trust issues to flexible working that we can forget in our haste to implement new technology, track meeting room use, or build a suite of touchdown desks.

What I mean is, what would happen if we approached it by giving people the choice and ownership of how they work, rather than focusing on the lack of desks or the money saving opportunities it might bring? Would more flexible working approaches be met with open arms if we approached it in this way?

All too often the implementation of flexible working is met with a sceptical eye roll as the new funky ‘conversation pod’ is installed or the horror and emotional trauma of having to clear out the detritus from around the desk you have loved for the last 5 years because it had pictures of your nearest and dearest, got the morning sun and you didn’t have far to walk to the tea point. And now you’re going to have to share it with the whole of the 4th floor!

How much more successful would it be if we approached it from the view that flexible working is about employees having some say over how, where or when they work.

Trust is wrapped up in this too. You see if we start with the basic principle that people want to do a good job and trusted people to work in the way that would help them do their best work, how, when and where would people choose to work?

Would giving people a greater voice in this and encouraging a sense of ownership in the way they work make a difference? I think it might.


Rosanna James

OD Consultant

The Beech Centre for People, Performance & Organisational Development



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