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It’s the year of flexible working

/ 05:00 AM May 29, 2017

Flexible working is on the rise in the Philippines.

In fact, according to the latest report from Colliers International, there are around 60 flexible office space operators as of end-2016, with the area dedicated to flexible workspaces reaching 228,000 square meters.

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Colliers expects the number to grow by 10 percent annually in the next three years as demand for co-working spaces is spurred by the millennial-dominated workforce.

Our findings, from Regus commissioned research, found that 41 percent of businesses place improving flexible working policies high on their agenda this year due to increased demand from staff. Sixty-three percent of our respondents also state that nowadays, any job they take has to offer flexible working too.

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If you’re looking to improve your staff’s work-life balance, here are a few things to think about when revising your policy.

Make your policy even more flexible: If you’re currently only offering flexitime or compressed working hours, it could be time to go that one step further and offer a home or remote working option too.

The People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), the premier organization of HR practitioners and people managers in the country with a membership of more than 1,800 corporate and individual members, conducted a survey in one of their recent monthly meeting attended by more than 200 members. The results showed that 81 percent of the respondents are in favor of a four-day work week scheme. The companies also shared that they provide benefits to their employees to lessen the effect of traffic like flexible work schedule, free shuttle, work from home option and gas allowance.

Don’t forget the details: It’s important to make sure that your staff understand exactly what each term in your policy means, and what is expected of them if they do decide to give flexible working a go. Let them know what they’ll need to apply, what equipment the company will provide, and, if applicable, how their new working arrangement might affect the way they pay tax.

Plan ahead: As well as explaining how a worker becomes flexible or remote, your policy needs to outline why a candidate might be rejected from your scheme. This could include anything from reasons of necessity—they’re a vital cog in your office—or if their role requires more supervision. It’s important to outline your assessment methods so that you can’t be accused of discrimination further down the line.

Educate your workers: If flexible working is new to your company, make sure everyone knows how it’s going to work. Your managerial staff might be worried that it could have a negative impact on productivity, but that’s where research and training will help reassure them.

A change of scenery—whether it’s at home or a business space—can improve productivity.

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Introduce trial days: Allowing your staff to work from home for one day per week before offering them full-time opportunities can help them assess whether they think it will work in the long-term. This will also give you and your managerial staff a chance to check that they’re still as productive as normal while letting them get used to working in a different environment.

Business has changed drastically over the last few decades, whether through the rise of new technologies and flexible working.

To remain attractive and retain young talent, it’s important for companies to embrace flexible working practices and promote work-life balance for their workforce. (The author is Country Manager of Regus Philippines)

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