Teleworking, à la carte schedules… Flexible working is gaining more and more followers

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  • Published on 01/13/2023 at 11:35 a.m.
    Updated 01/13/2023 at 11:35 a.m.

    Lecture 2 min.

    The health crisis has contributed to the advent of telework and, by extension, more flexible work schedules. These new modes of organization have long been viewed with suspicion by managers, even if mentalities are changing.

    At least that’s what a rapport produced jointly by the British universities of Birmingham and York, as part of the Equal Parenting project. The two institutions surveyed 597 managers living in the UK about corporate flexibility. Most of them are in favor of the idea of ​​offering their employees the possibility of adapting their working hours and place of work according to their needs and personal requirements.

    Managers are particularly in favor of teleworking: 51.8% of respondents say that teleworking improves employee concentration. It would even make them more productive (59.5%) and motivated (62.8%). However, many managers continue to believe that flexible working can loosen the bond between employees and the company. They are also 56.4% to think that the rise of hybrid work organizations can cause a feeling of isolation, even loneliness, among some teleworkers.

    Despite this, working from home is generally perceived as a real asset for a company’s “employer” brand, as is the flexibility of working hours. Gone is the immutable 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. whose merits Dolly Parton sang about in the song “9 to 5”; the time has come to pay-per-view schedules in many organizations. This asynchronous working method has been common in Anglo-Saxon countries since the 2020s, thanks to the development of “cloud computing” [technologie permettant l’externalisation des serveurs et des logiciels]. It is now gaining ground almost everywhere in the world, under the impetus of employees anxious to maintain a better balance between their personal and professional lives.

    Extended hours are tough

    But what about the managers? How do they perceive the new expectations of their employees regarding their pace of work? Much more positively than one might think. They are around 44% to think that more flexible work organization methods such as the four-day week or the use of part-time work help to make employees more productive. “Managers are generally much more supportive of flexible working than before the pandemic and believe their organizations are more likely to support flexible working demands in the future,” said report co-authors Holly Birkett and Sarah Forbes. from the universities of Birmingham and York, in a statement.

    However, some obstacles persist to the generalization of flexible working. The first concerns extended hours. This tradition continues to prevail in many companies, despite the negative consequences for the physical and mental health of employees. Some managers even see it as a mandatory step in an employee’s career (41.9%). Added to this is the issue of employee supervision. The generalization of teleworking has often been accompanied by increased monitoring of remote employees—to the delight of the main stakeholders but also of their managers. Indeed, 64% of managers admit that the use of tools aimed at strengthening the supervision of employees makes them more stressed than anything else.

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