When we ask what people desire in their careers there can be a long list of things they name – but one word that crops up time and time again is flexibility.
But when that can be interpreted so many different ways – and by so many different people who influence your career – what is it about flexibility that matters, and what are the pros and cons?
For many, flexible working hours is the first issue that comes up; some people – in fact, a surprising number – are happy with the 9-5, standard office hours, and the familiarity that comes with that.
But what about those who aren’t?
Flexible working hours can mean beginning earlier and leaving earlier, freeing up your evenings if you’re someone who performs well first thing. It can mean beginning later and burning the midnight oil if you’re not a morning person. It can even mean fitting your 40 hour working week into three days instead of five, giving you more days away from the office.
But is this as good as it sounds?
Sure, flexible working means that you can pop away early to see the kids in a school assembly, or to head to the gym for a workout on your own schedule – but for business leaders it can lead to headaches trying to track who is where, whether they’ve clocked up as many hours as they’re contracted to, and whether the time that they are in the office is actually valuable; if you have a worker squeezing 15 hour days in the office, are they going to be performing at their peak towards the end?
If you are in a leadership position and you have an employee requesting flexible learning, by law you have to consider their request; we all have that right – but if you truly believe that it wouldn’t work for your business, for the kind of work that you do, or for the environment that you manage, you can refuse – as long as you give good grounds for the refusal.
If you’ve never considered it before though, it might turn out that flexibility in the working hours you offer to your team brings a new lease of life to your brand – and can even open opportunities for you to work with a wider market.
Flexible office space
If our team have been in place for a number of years, and everyone knows their role and gets on with their work without much interaction, it could lead to stagnation, and may even mean that the world outside of the office has moved on faster than you realise, leaving you behind.
If everyone has their own space in the office, their own desk where they’ve settled in, made themselves at home, and personalised it to the extent that they have become territorial, it might be time to shake it up a little!
Flexible office space – and concepts like hot-desking – means that everyone moves around regularly, shaking up the status quo; this not only means that people are more alert and on-the-ball, away from the soporific comfort of being ‘at home’ all day in their own space, but can also bring a new zest as people find themselves positioned near other members of the team, sparking new conversations, new ideas, new teams within the team, and can lead to new ideas, new projects taking off and a growth in the business as people try new things and push their own boundaries.
In every business there are opportunities for growth, change and learning – and there are many ways that this learning can be offered.
For decades, workplace learning has been offered as dry presentations and courses, reading through text books and filling in paperwork to show what you’ve learned, before everyone troops back to their desk and instantly forgets all about it and carries on as normal.
The problem is, everyone learns in their own way – and traditional learning not only doesn’t meet everyone’s unique learning style, it’s not always led to new knowledge being transferred to the workplace, or come with any way to measure this learning transfer.
Modern L&D comes with a wide range of learning methods, from digital programmes to executive coaching, personalised 360 degree learning to in-depth business simulations that enable your team to practice what they’ve learned.
For some practitioners, that’s a massive improvement on how things used to be – but here at ASK, we take it even further. Not only do we offer a huge range of learning methods, with new technologies and personalised programmes tailored to suit the specific needs of your business, we also ensure that our programmes all follow our unique methodology of Engage, Learn, Transfer and Evaluate.
This means that we don’t run a training course then take our money and run for the door – we ensure that the learning we deliver is tailored to suit the needs and learning style of your team, we follow up this learning with methodologies that transfer this new knowledge back into the workplace, and we continue to monitor and evaluate this learning to make sure that the new information has a huge impact on your organisation moving forward.
To find out more about our Engage, Learn, Transfer and Engage methodology, [modal_text_link name=”ELTE” class=”” id=””]download a brochure (PDF)[/modal_text_link] or see how it worked for other clients with our case studies. [/fusion_text][modal name=”ELTE” title=”Download File: Engage, Learn, Transfer, Evaluate” size=”large” background=”” border_color=”” show_footer=”yes” class=”” id=””][contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"][/modal]