Achieving a work/life balance is not just a one-off exercise, but a long-term commitment to operating your business in a way that respects your employees' responsibilities outside work. Policies designed to help you achieve a healthy work-life balance need to be tailored to your business and your employees.
Drawing up a clear policy on flexible working can have a positive impact on management by making it clear the circumstances in which a request for flexible working will be considered and approved. This saves management time and means that inconsistencies in management decisions are removed. It can also help employees by explaining their rights around flexible working.
Develop a flexible working policy
When developing a flexible working policy for your business you should take the following into consideration:
- determine your core business requirements first - what you want to achieve
- ask staff - both managers and other workers - what they want from a flexible working policy
- consult with trade unions/staff associations
- consult all employees affected and agree upon selected flexible working policies, eg flexi-time
- decide which of your employees will be covered by the scheme and ensure the flexible working scheme does not breach employees' rights or unfairly discriminate - the Labour Relations Agency may be able to advise you on this Tel 03300 555 300 - see also flexible working: the right to request and duty to consider
- draw up written procedures for implementation and evaluation of your flexible working policies, including regular reassessment
- ensure support from senior management for flexible working
- take the lead by demonstrating a commitment to work-life balance
- explain any changes to staff and keep them updated on any regulatory changes, eg the right for parents to request flexible working
Read more on flexible working: the law and best practice.
You may find it helpful to conduct a trial or pilot the flexible working scheme to see how effective and workable your new policies are. Change the programme if this proves necessary and keep track of the progress of your business and your employees' work/life balance.
You can measure the success of your flexible working policies by gauging staff feedback and tracking changes in the rate of absenteeism, rate of staff turnover and customer satisfaction. See staff feedback, ideas and forums, control staff turnover and how to manage absence and sickness.