On 30th June 2014, the UK government extended flexible working rights to over 20 million people.
Before the announcement, only carers and people who looked after children were allowed to ask their bosses for flexible working arrangements. By extending it to all employees, the government instantly changed the dynamics of the workplace.
For some business, this was unwelcome news, but for the forward-thinking, dynamic modern enterprises, it was long overdue.
People should be allowed to work when they feel most productive. And, providing the correct number of hours are worked each week, why should the desire to work flexibly be frowned upon?
If you’ve been given the green light to work flexible hours, you’ll probably be the first to admit that you’ll need some solid productivity rules to ensure it works for both yourself and the company. We’ve picked out five of the best.
1. Make room for ‘me time’
The whole point of flexible working is to ensure you regain control of your day and become the master of the clock. Time that was once lost to long periods of procrastination at work can now be reinvested in tasks that will benefit your day.
This is why you need to make room for ‘me time’ every day. During that time, you can clear down your email, publish your social media posts and arrange your to-do list. It’s absolutely vital if flexible working is going to prove successful for you.
2. Reduce meeting times
If there’s one thing that can derail flexible working arrangements, its meetings.
If a meeting overruns considerably, it’ll immediately start eating into time you’ll have allocated to other tasks. To avoid this, work with your colleagues to reduce meeting times by at least twenty-five percent.
If they’re working flexibly too, they’ll have the same desire to ensure get togethers are as swift and productive as they should be, so don’t be afraid to be the one who raises the idea.
3. Work remotely when it makes sense
Depending on the logistics of doing so, working remotely will enable you to maximise your working day for ultimate productivity.
Whenever you have a big project that needs total concentration in order to be completed, or simply need to surround yourself in the silence of your home office in order to complete a tricky report – do so.
Working remotely is an intrinsic part of flexible working, so use it as often as you need to.
4. Lean on the latest technology
Most business software is now either web-based or comes complete with some form of counterpart mobile app.
By leaning on the latest technology (both software and hardware), your day will become far more flexible, because you won’t be tied to a single desk. You can start writing a report on your office computer and finish it off that evening on your tablet.
Modern technology has all but removed the boundaries that once existed in the office.
5. Turn off notifications (go on, you can do it!)
As useful as push notifications on your smartphone may appear to be, it’s far more likely that they’re silently destroying your ability to be productive.
By removing all but the most crucial of notifications, you’ll claw back a signifiant amount of time previously lost to reviewing your email inbox or social media updates.
Free your mind and working environment of notifications, and you’ll quickly find that you have more time than you thought to get tough jobs done. Your digital life can wait until you’ve finished.
As you’ll have noted, flexible working is all about towing the line between using the latest technology but not being governed by it. If you can do that and empower yourself to only work when you feel capable of producing your best stuff, flexible working is absolutely for you.