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Matt Wheeler

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Want wellbeing? Time to be flexible

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According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), companies looking to make sure staff aren’t under too much pressure, should consider implementing flexible working policies, such as remote working. In fact, it claims that employees who work for organisations that offer flexible working practices are the happiest of all.
 

The Office of National Statistics reveals that eight million people in the UK – 27% of all those employed – already work flexibly, and this number is set to keep on rising as having a greater working-life balance becomes a real priority for modern workers. But when managed properly, flexible working practices can bring many benefits for the employer too, explains Matt Wheeler, Product and Marketing Director at Amano UK.

The dynamics of the modern workforce are continually evolving and therefore effective workforce management has had to adapt, moving far beyond the simplicity of just clocking in and out to record hours worked. For example, the demand for flexible working practices has led to the adoption of variable work patterns and for many, the traditional nine to five working day is a thing of the past.

A survey of 50 HR professionals carried out by Amano UK found that 58% stated that their organisation currently offered their employees more than the statutory minimum required. Remote working was the most popular policy in place (76%), with policies to enable flexitime (68%) also high on the agenda.

To keep up with these changing times, employers must become more engaged with the modern culture of flexible working policies and the systems that support them.

Support systems
The FSB has acknowledged that flexible working can work wonders for the wellbeing of both employees and their employers by increasing productivity and performance while saving the business money. However, in practice these benefits can only be achieved if the right infrastructure is in place to support it.

Advances in technology have given way to the development of more complex time and workforce management systems.  Not only do these systems record hours worked, they synchronise time and attendance data with project and activity tracking and holiday and overtime management, as well as HR recording and integration with access control and payroll. By using such systems, HR managers and teams can more easily monitor staff hours and timekeeping to ensure better planning, shift management and staff deployment, which can then help to reduce overtime costs and wastage.

In turn, businesses can profit from immediate savings in reducing administration time, providing opportunities to speed up processes and redeploy key staff. By also monitoring staff hours and timekeeping, businesses will ensure that employees are working the hours that they are paid for. By saving just five minutes per day per employee, businesses can save thousands of pounds per annum – a real business benefit.

However, the increased flexibility that these systems offer is what makes them crucial to managing a flexible workforce effectively and successfully. Integrating new technology such as mobile applications, internet based systems, wireless technology, biometrics, notification services and employee self-serve functionality will assist both employees and employers, helping them to access real-time data, plan more effectively and manage more efficiently whether they’re based in the office, working from home or out on the road.

Flexible budgets
With business budgets under constant pressure, every penny spent has to be justified but employers no longer need to be held to ransom by tight purse strings when it comes to choosing these fundamental tools.
For example, web-based systems can help businesses and their HR staff benefit from a flexible service-based system without the need to install and maintain expensive IT software. Using a remote secure data hosting facility, the system can be accessed over the internet yet still link with core HR functions and existing systems to provide an automated approach.

Charged on a monthly ‘pay as you go’ basis, the set up is also completed online – making it a speedy and cost effective option for HR teams who can then be up and running within a day. There is added flexibility in also being able to adapt the system requirements to suit the changing needs of the business on a monthly basis. With no initial investment or cost of ownership, HR directors can keep track of their budgeting with no hidden costs – quite simply, only paying for what they use.

With flexible working practices set to become the norm, it’s clear that workforce management systems will be key to business happiness and wellbeing and today’s technology can enable every budget to benefit.

  • Matt Wheeler is Product and Marketing Director at Amano UK.
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