New technologies are reshaping businesses, and fundamentally altering how and where their employees work. In this new landscape, offering flexible working solutions—such as telecommuting and other forms of remote access—have become critical, allowing businesses to not only operate in a more agile way, but also attract top talent.
That makes having flexible working policies a huge advantage for businesses, but they might not realize the full extent of the benefits.
From the COVID-19 crisis to the ever-present threat of terror attacks and natural disasters, it’s impossible for businesses to predict what’s around the corner. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, it’s incredibly difficult to prepare for these crises, but flexible working policies have already demonstrated their worth as a safety net.
Businesses that already have the capacity to continue operating with employees in multiple locations are more likely to weather the storm of a crisis with minimal disruption. Put simply, flexible working arrangements are a ‘dry run’ for more serious situations where working remotely isn’t an innovative benefit, but a necessity.
Of course, not every business can operate remotely, and certain sectors like hospitality and retail will always be more vulnerable in a crisis. But for the businesses that can make it work, investing in flexibility makes a lot of sense.
With the right processes and technologies in place, businesses can worry less about simply staying operational, and focus more on making sure they remain as efficient and effective as they normally would be.
If flexibility and adaptability in the workplace come with so many potential benefits, the question becomes: how can businesses make it work?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and the right flexible workplace policy for a particular business will depend on a range of factors including geographic location, reliance on technology, number of staff, and much more.
It’s worth keeping in mind that with remote work, businesses have much less control over the environments their employees are operating in. This can raise all sorts of liabilities. For example, if an employee injures themselves or somebody else in their house while they’re on the clock, who is responsible?
Therefore, some essential components to making remote work arrangement successful are: clear employee communications and training; investing in cyber security and a risk management program; and having the right insurance.