Managing a company with a flexible workforce requires expertise, knowledge, patience and good communication skills and adds another level of complexity and administration that needs to be coped with. With the new flexible working hours legislation we look at the challenges and ways to minimise any administrative hassle when staff scheduling.
Let’s try to clarify some of the concerns:
- What is a flexible workforce?
- New legislation
- What does this mean?
- The challenge
- How to reduce the time taken on administration
- Choosing a solution
- Why PARiM?
What is a flexible workforce?
According to The Business Dictionary, “A flexible workforce is a group of employees that understand how to perform a variety of different jobs and functions within a company. Many companies desire a more flexible workforce to avoid having the loss of any particular staff member damage its prospects for success, and so they might implement an extensive cross training program for employees.”
Companies can choose to create a flexible workforce because it suits and fits with their corporate objectives and whilst setting up and creating such a workforce they will consider how best to manage and record their hours. However, recently the UK Government introduced the Flexible Working Policy that now allows staff to request flexible working.
The government site clarifies that the new government policy states that “from 30 June 2014, all employees have the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers".
This application is known as ‘making a statutory application’ and that in order to be able to make this application for flexible staffing, employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible.”
What does this mean?
Well, it could mean that last week you had a company where everyone was 9 to 5 and you have a completely uniform, easy to manage workforce, and this week some of the staff are requesting to work 7:30 until 15:30, some 8 until 4, others 8:30 until 16:30 and a few want to remain working 9 until 5. A potential administrative nightmare or challenge to say the least!
So, let’s say that following Monday 30th June’s introduction of The Flexible Working Policy you engage and work with your staff and their statutory applications for flexible working. You could end up with a happier and more productive workforce. However, the question still remains that suddenly your standard 9 to 5 workers have become a workforce of completely mixed hours that need monitoring, recording and managing, adding another level of administrative bureaucracy to your business!
Recognising the new legislation, the challenge for business owners and entrepreneurs is how to keep all your staff happy, content and working as efficiently as possible whilst monitoring and recording the new variances in working hours. Why do this? It is well documented that a happier workforce is a more productive and efficient one.
Devoting as much time as you can to actually managing the staff, interacting with them and listening to their thoughts and ideas can help. In order to spend more face to face management time, you need to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. Tasks which, by their very nature, are necessary but repetitive; such as the emailing staff their schedules, timesheets, staff spreadsheets, absence management and transferring timesheet data into your payroll system.
How to reduce the time taken on administration
Don’t be afraid to use technology to manage your flexible workforce. It can save you a lot of time, paper and resources, and if you pick the right one, your staff could also feel an increased sense of engagement with the company. Allowing your staff to interact with the company, complete their details and request their own shifts can increase their satisfaction levels.
Choosing a solution
Define your needs and then select a solution that meets as many of them as possible. A cloud based solution with a portal for management and two other self service access portals allows you to manage your workforce and your staff and for clients to engage with your company whenever they want, wherever they are. Select a solution that automates as many of the repetitive tasks as possible and that’s single log on and easy to use.
Why PARiM ?
Much as we would all like to think, as business managers or owners, that it is us who are in control of our company’s operations there will always be a string of workforce curve balls. The new Flexible Working Policy is such a curve ball and it is difficult not to consider it an administrative challenge rather than an opportunity. These sorts of challenges and changes are inevitable in the fast paced 21st century we find ourselves in.
Fortunately the technological solution for this challenge is already out there, in the cloud, easy to use meaning that just because it is easier for your employees to change and alter their working hours and schedules around their lives doesn’t mean it needs to be a burden or take more administration for you, your business or your administration function.