Friday 8 January 2016

Flexible work times the way to go!

Imagine relaxing on a bright sunny day, sinking into your chair, resting your feet on the table, sipping on your favorite drink and thinking... sounds like a vacation, doesn’t it? But if you’re an IT professional, chances are you already have a work life that enables you to do all of this, even while working.

Flexible work timings and work from home arrangements have lately become some of the deciding factors that IT professionals look for while zeroing in on a job opportunity. That big ticket companies like Apple, IBM and SAP are increasingly providing these facilities to their employees also goes on to say a lot about their positive impact on an individual’s performance and the benefits they provide not only to the employees, but also to the company they’re working for.

Flexible work arrangements can be made in terms of both time and location. In terms of time, these arrangements usually include flexible work hours, compressed workweeks (for eg.- 9-day fortnights), part-time work, and job sharing (ie two people dividing their workload and share information). With regard to the location, flexible work arrangements include home, satellite offices and working on the move.

Let’s take a look at why they’re needed in the IT Industry and the benefits that their fulfilment entails.

    1. Creative Focus - TheIT industry requires one to be dynamic and adaptive to change. It requires one to have a constant spirit of innovation and a unique approach to problem-solving. New challenges come up all the time. New projects are constantly coming up. The ideas required for the process often hit you unannounced, and may not necessarily come to you when you’re searching for them. In such cases, providing an employee with work from home facility would make it easier for him to work upon the idea as and when it comes to him, within the quarters of his own home which might, in most cases prove to be a more relaxing environment for him and prove conducive to his productivity and creative thinking.
    2. Increased Productivity - Productivity is a very relative term. The level of productivity at different times of the day and in different work settings varies from person to person. While some people may find it easier to work in the wee hours of the night, others are at their productive best early in the morning. While some people can focus more when they’re in an office, surrounded by other people doing the same, a lot of others find it easier to work in an isolated setting. Allowing employees to work in a flexible time frame can thus work wonders for their productivity. Also, providing them the freedom to work away from the office for a certain number of hours will enable them to choose a work environment that they’re comfortable in, thus fueling their productivity.
    3. Better Work - life Balance - Employees often have problems on the home front, which could range from a child’s parent teachers’ meet to an ill family member. These issues can slow them down or even take their mind off work. In case of a flexible work schedule, they can take time out not only to handle these issues but also fulfill other family commitments, which makes their family happy and creates a positive work-life balance, affecting their professional performance positively.
    4. Avoiding Rush Hour Travel - In larger cities like Mumbai, Bangalore etc, where IT firms often run their major operations, commuting to work is a major issue for most employees. A 9-5 job ensures that they have to travel to and from work during the rush hours, which is exhausting, both mentally and physically, due to on-road traffic and unmanageable crowds in public transport. A flexible time schedule thus helps them avoid rush hour transportation and keeps their energy levels high. Also, working from home eliminates the travelling issue altogether as no time or energy is spent in commuting to work.
    5. Retaining Valuable Staff - A lot of times, staff members are juggling two jobs at once, or have varied interests which they want to pursue and which come in the way of their performance in the office. Flexible work timings and work from home arrangements ensure that they can give equal time to their work commitments. This also helps the company recruit and keep valued staff who may have other interests or commitments, as these employees now have increased control over when and where they choose to work from.
    6. No More Space Issues - Corporate offices these days are often cramped for space and might find it hard at times to accommodate their large number of employees on the premises. Work from home arrangements eliminate the problem of paucity of space as they require not only a smaller office space, less furniture and office equipment, but also fewer parking spots, leading not only to cost cutting but a better use of available space.

Flexible work hours and work arrangements thus come with a lot of benefits. However, clear policies of working hours and track of number of hours worked must be maintained to avoid confusion.

Considering the great need and large number of benefits implied by them, such work arrangements seem to be the way to go!