17th March 2016
The concept of part time work from home is evolving fast
In a recent study in Switzerland it was found that 28% Swiss partly from home. What is more interesting is the fact that nearly one third of those who are not able to do so would prefer to work under a flexi time policy. Deloitte, one of the world’s most respected consulting organizations has concluded that this trend will increase significantly in future. Practice of the daily trek to the office and fixed office spaces is going to reduce in future across the globe.
This trend will help in reducing traffic on the roads, can reduce pollution while at the same time reducing the office space cost and increasing the chances of employee retention in many cases. This is emerging as a win win situation for the employers and the employees. Though companies differ on the flexi time policies yet the trend is catching up almost all the segments and across the globe.
In India, the trend was already there in the IT sector and now it is finding a ready acceptance in many other sectors too. Lack of flexi time and part time work from home policies create a huge gender bias too against the working mothers who are forced to opt for jobs which are considered more accommodative for women. This does not benefit the employers who lose precious talent in the process. This is being recognized by almost all the sectors and corrective actions are being taken by giving long maternity leave of up to 26 weeks to the female workers while also introducing flexi time work hours. This is indicative of the shape of the things to come. Easy access to digital technology is making it happen fast. What is needed is a simple mind set change to trigger off this phenomenon in a larger way.
In the FlexiJob’s Top 100 companies’ latest report, posting of jobs with flexi timing options have grown by over 36%. The list includes companies of all sizes, big names like Apple, Dell, IBM, Aetna, ADP, and UnitedHealth Group. According to this report, Flexi time and remote workers are especially welcome in the computer and IT (Dell, Apple, IBM); medical and health (UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna); sales (American Express, Appen, General Electric); administrative services (Kelly Services, Healthfirst, McKesson); customer service (Sutherland Global, Amazon, LiveOps), education and training (Connections Academy, K12, Kaplan); and marketing (About.com).
Writers, engineers, software developers, and sales rep havebeen working on flexi time basis for years now. What is interesting to note is the number of companies looking for positions like the vice president of banking at SAP, a medical director at Aetna and an “at-home manager of phone teams” at Apple, and the director of new market services at UnitedHealth Group, according to this report.
It is encouraging to note that many of these MNCs are present in India and many already have flexi time policies suitedto the Indian conditions. HR heads interviewed for MyKindofjob.com have shared the following benefits of having jobs where telecommuting is built in:
- They have been successful in attracting better talent. By offering flexi time options an organization expands its scope for talent geographically which allows it to access a larger talent pool.
- They have experienced a higher retention of talent. Work life balance has been interpreted as one of the biggest incentives for sticking to companies that offer flexible work culture.
- These organizations have noticed greater productivity, creativity and innovation in the work. Flexibility allows the workers to work when and where they’re most inspired and efficient, which helps a lot in delivering better results.
To make the top management understand the benefits of a flexible work culture, the successful HR heads have made great efforts in removing the mental road blocks. These are some of the best practices adapted by the successful managers in India:
- Ensure that the benefits are fully communicated to ensure a buy in from all the departments. Remove doubts on productivity and operational control issues which will perhaps be the biggest barriers by sharing research findings and success stories of other companies. For example: IBM India.
- Keep the policy simple and practical for line managers while keep a comprehensive strategy note ready for the top team and the CEO highlighting the benefits in terms of costs and returns.
- Flexi time policy must be in written down with clear explanation of What, Why and How of the policy in simple to understand language at the same time attaching support documents for further clarity.
- Create guidelines for assessing the viability of flexi work in specific areas with a cross functional team to evaluate the practical aspects. In all situations productivity and practicability will be the basis of allowing flexi time or not.
- Must create an evaluation system for flex time workers to find out whether it is really working or not in terms of productivity and cost efficiencies.
- Collaborate with your communication team to ensure that all the concerned departments understand the policy and its nuts and bolts. If this is not done properly then the entire flex work policy and fall flat in no time. It is therefore very important to take every one along and implement it gradually in areas where the acceptance is high. Once the results are visible the acceptance in other areas will be easy.
Founder of Fortune Architect
Managing Director- Asia Pacific & EMEA Markets with Saviour US INC
Respected HR Leader
CHRO, LANCO INFRATECH LIMITED
Executive Director-HR & Admin, Experion Developers
Managing Director, UK Fostering, Founder, UKINDO International & CharityWorld.com
Promoter & Director, Rockland Hospitals Network, Delhi
Vice President & HR Head- India/SA at IBM HR Consultant
Founder and a principal consultant with People Talent International
Mr Chauhan has held leadership roles in HR at leading multinational companies
COO & Co-founder of Round Ark Limited, Gurgaon
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