What does ‘if not, why not’ mean for people managers?

When its implemented well, flexible working has a positive impact on employee health and productivity and can lead to improved customer satisfaction. Employees often have more “working” time to complete tasks and are more outcomes focused. It can also enable new business models to improve service delivery and ‘bigger picture’ contributions to society, such as travel time savings, increased workforce participation for many groups currently under-represented (so a bigger pool of talented potential employees), and dispersing some jobs out of congested areas into regions.

But as a manager, this policy commitment can seem daunting – how do you introduce and support flexibility across your team, yet still get the work done?
We’ve provided a suite of resources here to help you to make it work – and it can work really well to lift engagement, maintain or improve productivity and help with employee attraction and turnover across the sector. Whatever your workforce challenge, flexibility can contribute to the solution, and our evidence from running a number of pilots across the sector is that it can be done in operationally safe ways.

These resources will get you started.

Types of flexible working

If you’d like to better understand what flexible working is, or what types of flex you might be able to use, here’s some advice.

How to make flexibility work as a team

Start with our toolkit to design a flexibility trial for your whole branch or division, no matter what its operational context. We recommend this approach as the safest and most likely to succeed, and have provided these resources to get you started on working as a team to make it happen.

Reviewing a proposal and having the conversation

We have a conversation guide for you, as preparation for when you do talk about flexibility in your team, and any one-on-one conversations you have with your team about their arrangements – and what to do if it’s not working, or if you need to say no. We also have guidance on what to consider when someone gives you a formal or ongoing flexibility proposal.

Self-assessment tool and development guide

As a manager, while you don’t need to become a flexibility expert, it can be helpful to understand what you need to know, say and do as a people manager more broadly, so here is a self-assessment to find the areas you’re confident in, and anywhere you might need to improve. There’s also a self-paced development guide to help you build on any areas you want to get better at.

Job share guide for managers

Job share is an innovative type of flexible working that helps you retain coverage in a role, yet support an employee who may need part-time work. We have a guide that will help you to recruit, manage and develop a job share pair. We’ve also prepared some trouble-shooting videos if you have some dilemmas or misgivings about job share.

Managing dispersed flexible teams

If your team is spending more and more time out of the office, you may need to adapt your own management style to that of a ‘dispersed team’. Here’s some guidance on what you need to adjust, and how.

Role redesign for managers

If you and your employee find you need to redesign their role, we’ve developed this to guide you through the steps you need to take.

Role adjustment for managers

COVID-19 may mean some office-based employees need to temporarily scale back their roles. This toolkit provides a process to make short-term role adjustments to help your team effectively balance any increase in work and life responsibilities.