Numerous studies show that offering employees more flexible working arrangements can make a significant positive difference to how happy they are in their work and how well they perform. And there’s no doubt there are benefits to both employer and employee in making getting the job done more important than where or during which hours it happens. However, there are two sides to every story, and though most employers should consider introducing flexible working arrangements, they should do so with their eyes open. This post highlights some of the drawbacks along with the benefits of offering more flexible working arrangements to staff, and how some of the downsides can be overcome using the right workplace management system.

Productivity is one of the big gains to be made when you introduce flexible working arrangements. In one survey 60% of HR Directors reported increased productivity when employees could work under more flexible conditions. And it isn’t hard to find or begin your speculation as to what, precisely, is behind this, but it is unlikely theories as to why have been properly examined.

Avoiding the long commute to the office

Some employees may have more capacity to give that little bit extra at work because they are less worn out by a long and stressful commute during the rush hour. Even if they do travel into the office, flexible working means they don’t have to travel with the rest of the herd. For some employees, who may not be at their most productive in the morning, flexible working arrangements mean that they can schedule their working day to begin a little later than expected. For extroverts, working in an environment with colleagues around can be energising, whereas for introverts the opposite is true. It has also been suggested that if an employee is seen, in person, in the office, they are under less pressure to deliver results because no one can claim they weren’t there doing it, whereas if working from home the only evidence an employee has of productivity is their output.

Regardless of the explanation, research so far agrees that productivity increases when you allow people to work when and where is most practical for them, and when you put it that way it sounds entirely logical. However, there are still potential drawbacks to the model that can impact negatively on productivity.

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How Matrix Booking meets all Flexible Working needs

Those who work from home at least some of the time can suffer from a feeling of never leaving work. At the start of a new job that allows them to work from home, having previously worked for years in a traditional 9-5 office job, the comfort, convenience and autonomy of working from home will feel refreshing and motivating, leading to increased productivity for most people. But in time the feeling of never having left work could lead to a lack of motivation.

A more obvious challenge for people who work from home, that can impact negatively on productivity and other business concerns is one of communication problems with colleagues and managers. When employees are unable to bump into anyone at the water cooler, literally and metaphorically, there will be fewer opportunities for organic growth of connections between staff.

When you rely entirely on electronic messaging it can be much harder just to get someone’s attention than it can if you can walk over to their desk and say: “Hey, have you got a minute?” A flexible working arrangement can suit both employees to the point of making them more productive and happier, and employers by saving them money through not requiring physical space to accommodate staff. However, it can also present difficulties to the employer, who has to ensure that team members are available when needed, for coverage of service, team meetings, and general human resources processes.

One of the best solutions to this is to use leading workplace management software, like Matrix Booking. The award-winnong software allows staff freedom to book space for work, which can include their own home, from wherever they are via the app on their mobile. Because if you want to offer your staff truly flexible working arrangements, you need to give them the ability to make last-minute changes to where they are working from, like this.

Using Matrix Booking you can ensure that resources, including meeting rooms, desk spaces, computer terminals and other resources that your staff need to do their jobs are not overbooked. Monitoring of current and planned resource usage enables you to easily check that you have and will have the right people at work at any given time. Meanwhile, historic resource usage data enables you to predict future resource need.

Matrix Booking can also help your business implement flexible working arrangements, which enable different organisations to share spaces and save money on physical overheads while providing workers with workplaces or ‘Commuter Hubs’ that are much closer to where they live.

For more details about the Matrix Booking Hub Networks, you can read our case studies on the Public Sector Hub Network at The Ministry of Justice plus the Hub Network at National Probation Service.

Free Resource Booking Software Trial

If you would like to see how Matrix Booking can help you offer a more flexible working arrangement to your staff, a no obligation 14-day trial of Matrix Booking takes only a few minutes to set up using the form on the website. From there just confirm your trial with the confirmation email and log in to set up rooms and users. The Matrix Booking user experience has been designed to be extremely intuitive and easy to pick up, but if you need any help at all to get started or after you have begun your trial, please do not hesitate to contact the Matrix Booking team, who will be very happy to help. They can be reached via the online chat service, by phone on +44 (0) 203 883 9339 and by email at info@matrixbooking.com.