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Do you really provide flexible hours?

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We are seeing more and more businesses responding to our busy modern lives by providing flexibility for their employees, which is great, right? … or is it?  At the same time, we are seeing work related stress on the rise and hear of an increase in sick days relating to mental health issues and stress related illnesses.  So where are we going wrong? Surely providing flexible hours, mobile devices and connection to online platforms at home should make it easier and less stressful for employees to juggle the demands of their lives? That may depend on how it is managed, and the guidelines that are in place.

Remember the old adage about the importance of ‘avoid taking your work home’? Well, some of us now take it everywhere – and in some cases, are being encouraged to.  Employees can potentially be dealing with work problems and emails while out with friends, watching kids sport, at concerts and family dinners. All occasions when attention really should be with the person or people in front of us.

So, what is the solution to finding the right balance?  Make sure that working from home is more about convenience, efficiency and balance, rather than providing additional stress. This means having guidelines in place, and ‘no-go’ times when accessing emails is either impossible, or certainly discouraged.

This year France introduced legislation to do just that, from January 2017 businesses with over 50 staff were required to have set times where the company was unable to email staff. Hence enforcing down time, and removing the guilt that you ‘should’ be working.  The same theories can certainly be applied to smaller businesses.

Do you have an after-hours policy? Talk to our HR team about how to design and implement one that works best for you. If you have one in place, talk to your staff about what is working and what could be better – if it’s dated or failing, revise and improve it.

Let’s face it, we are all more productive, engaged and energetic when we have had time to switch off and rest – and a happy, rested and productive team is what we all aim for in a successful business.

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Stephanie | People Guru

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