I had the chance to attend Stockton Castlegate's Last Thursday Business Brunch which centered around managing people to be an effective and happy workforce through methods like agile and flexible working.
Bethany Ainsley from OptiMe led the session using her knowledge and experience to deep dive with the group what flexible working meant for us, how it helps or hinders and what an agile workplace actually means.
Flexible working is having a choice of when and where you work, which is a valuable thing for a lot of disabled people who may not be able to stick to the traditional 9-5 workplace.
This style of working enables workers to have a more positive work/life balance by reducing stress, commuting challenges and additional expenses of travel. If you provide flexible working as a studio, employees will likely be more attracted to your company with greater commitment and reduced absenteeism.
The 'bad side' of flexibility which employers will have to manage is the effectiveness of some employees to work at home or elsewhere. It becomes harder to supervise them and arrange meetings. Your company culture will be harder to instill to them if they are not as present in the office.
It is important to encourage employees to be clear on dividing work and home. There have been many times the sister has rang for childcare as she sees me as 'available'. Motivating people to make it into the office at times is crucial to ensure you are monitoring their wellbeing.
If flexible working is an element of your business then agile is how it runs as a whole. Agile is the mindset for change rather than being flexible which is a habit. An agile workplace gives the skills the workplace needs to succeed. Like being more transparent between roles and ensuring different departments and teams feel like part of the same studio.
Food included muffins, melon bits (loose), Blue Ribbons and a banana that Chantal didn't share.