Jason Fowler, HR Director at Fujitsu UK & Ireland

How to make #FlexibleWorking work for your organisation

Today, more than half of UK workers work flexibly in some way, but there is still a lot of unmet demand: two in three workers (68%) would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available (CIPD, 2019).

It’s a hot topic that I see increasingly discussed across individual colleagues, management and leadership alike. But it’s also something that can mean different things for different roles and different companies.

Flexible working is therefore not something that can simply be rolled out in a uniform way. There will be nuanced challenges for each organisation to navigate.

Let’s take a look at some of these key considerations:

Purpose and association

Employer brand is becoming increasingly important as competition for talent grows fiercer and workers expect more than just financial rumination for their efforts.

Companies are investing significantly to get their employer brand just right – whether in engagement surveys, employee value propositions or seeking to establish a common sense of purpose that delivers against corporate objectives.

A key dependency is the sense of connection and association that each individual employee feels about their employer – and it is quite unrealistic to think this can be created and nurtured entirely remotely. Physical presence in the working environment and the sense of common purpose and collegiate association that this engenders is an intangible but valuable asset.

It is what transforms the employment relationship from transactional (skills, time and effort in exchange for money) into emotional commitment.

Innovation and collaboration

As a species, humans are naturally sociable – we tend to seek out opportunities to interact and form relationships with others. Doing so in an organisational environment can foster creativity and innovation in an unstructured yet highly productive way.

This cannot be replicated via the often cold, contained virtual meeting slots that are focussed on a set agenda or specific topics. Practical steps such as keeping the video facility on can help quite a lot, but it’s still not comparable to the value of face-to-face human interaction which forms the basis of trust and in turn collaboration and the spark of creativity.

Personal development

The most effective way of learning new skills and developing is through working with others that already know how. In the digital era, the need for each of us to take control of our own development and seek out ways to renew our skills – professional and extra-curricular – on an ongoing basis has increased considerably.

This is also a huge challenge for employers; as the half-life of any particular skill reduces, they need people with a growth mind-set who can continuously learn. To significantly limit or even eliminate face-to-face time between teams – and especially cross-functional teams – places another obstacle in the way of an already difficult yet vital task in front of individuals and the organisations they work for.

Mental health and wellbeing

Working remotely can contribute to positive mental health and wellbeing, allowing us to fulfil our other roles in life – parent, partner, carer, or even school governor. However, we need to be aware that it can also create a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Without the opportunity for the informal coffee, the casual chat and the visible sense that others are finding the same challenges we are, issues can be magnified and become disproportionate.

There’s also the risk that home becomes always associated with work – as the physical boundaries between home and work no longer exist, and so the mental boundaries break down too. The always on syndrome can be destructive for individuals and hugely unproductive for organisations

Reasons to visit the workplace

Yes, there are challenges, but that doesn’t mean flexible working is some kind of myth. There are steps that organisations can take to make flexible working a success.

Firstly, they can make the workplace compelling. This can take a physical form – modern, planned workspaces that feel like the type of place you want to spend time – as well as putting on events that are worth making the effort to travel in for. Executive townhalls can play a part as can non-job specific events.

At Fujitsu we operated one of the BBC Children in Need call centres at our Manchester office for the eighth consecutive year and in doing so had colleague volunteers from across the country travel to be a part of it. We will also be having Christmas lunch days across our sites during December as well as lunch and learn sessions to support development – simple examples of reasons to be in the office even when you don’t have a reason to be in the office.

Individuals themselves can take the initiative too: informally arranged ‘in the office days’ for teams or ‘locally’ based colleagues can be a positive and refreshing change. These also avoid the scenario where one person decides to come into an office, finds very few others there and resolves to not doing so again.

Taken as a whole, flexible working is a major benefit for employees and employers. However, care needs to be taken so that it avoids becoming inflexible – with individuals rarely or never attending an office. The potential consequence is incurring the negative personal consequences of isolation, disengagement and impaired development.

The flexible working opportunity

Flexible working undoubtedly has potential challenges and pitfalls, but the benefits are impossible to ignore.

Organisations must take a considered and careful approach to get their policies, working environments and equipment just right.

By doing so, they can reap the rewards of an empowered and motivated workforce, while avoiding the consequences of an isolated and disjointed workforce.

Jason Fowler, HR Director at Fujitsu UK & Ireland

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 19 hours 7 minutes ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost… https://t.co/HgFJWeC60R
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page