Fast broadband connectivity, powerful collaboration tools like Skype for Business and Slack, and growing use of freelancers and contractors are changing the workforce at a rapid speed.
In many sectors, work is increasingly something you do rather than a place you go, as workers begin to demand more flexible hours as well as the freedom to spend at least some of their time working remotely rather than in an office.
According to the Securing Work Spaces for Tomorrow white paper, produced for Dimension Data “… close to 80 percent of knowledge workers globally work remotely at least one day per week.
By 2020, up to 1.55 billion workers will be responsible for work that does not confine them to a desk.” South African financial services organisations that want to improve their agility and secure the best talent will need to look at whether their processes and organisational structures are ready for a changing workforce where people are no longer shackled to a desk.
IRESS adopts an environment that provides a balance between business needs and supporting people to help create a workplace culture that incorporates choice, understanding and adaptability.
With a focus on gender diversity in the workplace, and in line with our EE legislation that prohibits direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of family responsibility, it is imperative that SA businesses include flexibility options for parents. Allowing flexible working hours to new parents who return to work after being on parental leave, and again when their child starts school, helps them create a work-life balance, while still meeting the demands of the business.
Flexible start and finish times can significantly alleviate the stress of being stuck in traffic and this can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and motivation, as well as employee productivity.
Introducing options such as working from home, compressed working weeks, and varied start and finish times, can be an effective way to incorporate flexibility into the workplace. However, the nature of the job should determine which flexible options are available for employees as flexibility may not be possible for certain roles.
One of the challenges in introducing flexible working options is People Leaders’ fear of not being in control of managing performance of people who are not physically in the office. The implementation of flexible working options should be carefully considered. An approval process should accompany flexible working options, enabling leaders to carefully consider the potential risks of each flexible working application, as well as the adjustments they will need to make in order to manage performance of that person, to ensure that the operational requirements of the business is not compromised.
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