There are numerous benefits to having staff working flexible hours and from home, from a reduction in operating costs to increased workforce productivity, when managed properly. Statistics even show that employee satisfaction and loyalty can improve with telecommuters 48% more likely to rank their job a 10 (the highest level) on the happiness scale.
With the number of home workers having skyrocketed over 2020, and companies having hastily implemented remote working policies, 2021 is going to be a big year for consolidation and formalisation of many of these arrangements.
It’s well documented within the traditionally homeworking industries that key is to measure employee output, rather than the visibility of employees – but what if you could do both for maximum return? In other words, can you offer flexible working hours to your employees without compromising performance management and still ensure the best utilisation of time and skills?
The Catch of Flexible Working
With this year’s unique circumstances combined with more traditional drivers like increasing urban traffic, skewed working hours and changing customer demands, it’s not hard to see why sticking with the “new normal” of working from home is an attractive prospect for many employer and employees.
Reducing travel times can not only redirect wasted working hours, but demonstrate smart working – a company is showing confidence and trust in the employee and the employee can better control their work-life balance. Win-win, right?
The rapid acceleration in new technologies and innovations of today’s world mean that ‘home working’ no longer means working in isolation or compromising on valuable ‘working’ time, but at the same time, as we approach the close of 2020, companies in every industry are starting to see the initial productivity spikes plateau or even drop.
Disaster fatigue, more traditionally documented in the context of famines and flooding and forest fires, is beginning to set in for the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation from the workplace, lack of visibility and difficulty maintaining career momentum are all beginning to impact the mental health, motivation and performance of employees.
Of course, some of these issues can only be addressed by careful personnel management and human interaction, but others require the right tools. Managers needn’t feel as though supervision or process optimisation is being lost, nor should they be investing all their time administering remote work at the expense of their teams’ wellbeing. Managers should be given the information, freedom and time to both manage their teams well, and to lead their employees, looking after their people in the long run.
So, What’s the Solution?
OPX is a back-office workforce management software that provides the most flexible IT platform for managing geographically disparate workstreams and workers. The secret is that OPX tracks the users’ availability to work, as well as the work accepted and completed. By using this, and combining it with our unique low-level, skills-based approach, work carried out at home can be identified and allocated, ultimately the round-table visibility that managers who are used to having a co-located teams have come to expect can be achieved (and often hugely exceeded!) with a remote workforce.
OPX tracks and records activity at a task level, reporting on the workforce productivity, as well as the quality of the work, allowing team managers to work with the remote staff in a similar manner to the office based staff, where they still exist, tracking their skills and competencies, quality and throughput, utilisation and performance.
OPX can be tailored to deliver a custom timesheet using the OPX dashboard system based on the activity carried out and gives managers and team leaders live information on the activity of staff, minute-by-minute, from the moment they log in. OPX’s calendar system can be populated with details of a company or individual days off, absence or sickness, and by making use of the OPX open APIs, operations have the option to integrate with existing data sources to build the most complete picture possible.
Neither visibility nor output is overlooked and managers can still make the best utilisation of people’s times and skills. Flexible hours and home working don’t have to mean a loss of visibility, rather, it can provide an opportunity to promote productivity and lead to a demonstration of operational excellence.
There’s no better way to truly grasp the benefits of OPX than a live demo.