Experts are beginning to suggest that flexible working could be the main option for many employers as early as 2020, as thousands of workers across the UK begin to take up this smart way of working. A report by Lancaster University’s Work Foundation discovered that 44% of flexible workers believe it helps them to get more work done, while 42% said they enjoyed the fact that it shows their employers trusted them.
If you’re one of the many people across the UK currently considering asking your boss for permission to work flexibly, or if you’re a fledgling flexible worker just starting out, here are a few tips to help you settle into this new way of working from one of London's leading PA recruitment agencies.
Set a strict schedule
Working flexibly gives you more time to manage your workload and your own schedule – but that doesn’t mean you can be lax about it. Set a schedule for yourself that is as strict as the regular 9-5 workday. If you plan to work in shifts (for example, 8am – 11am and then 4pm – 8pm), make sure you’re logged on and ready to work solidly during those hours, rather than opening up your laptop half an hour late, or signing out ten minutes early.
Many flexible workers worry that their boss will demand much more from them now they don’t have commuting times to worry about. Working flexibly doesn’t mean you have to put in any extra hours – in fact, a lot of flexible workers are so productive, they can actually finish their workload in less than the time they’d need in the distracting office environment. Some employees who work flexibly feel the need to be ‘on call’ at all hours, which can also create an unhealthy work/life balance – exactly the thing that flexible working was designed to rectify. Don’t succumb to the pressure to work until you drop simply because you’re skipping the travel time.
Collaborate whenever possible
Working flexibly can be lonely and isolating, especially if you rarely get to see other people from your workplace. You should leap on any opportunity to work collaboratively, whether that means teaming up with a colleague in the office to deliver a certain project, or getting together with another flexible worker for a few hours of work each week. Technology nowadays allows wonderful collaboration possibilities, with screen-sharing, video conferencing, and many more features ensuring you won’t feel ‘left out’ of the office lifestyle.
Look after yourself
Flexible working is intended to be an antidote to the 9-5 office lifestyle – so take advantage of it by looking after yourself! Avoid eating ‘al desko’ (as many people do in offices) and take the time to cook yourself a healthy lunch. Work out regularly – you’re effectively shaving off hours of your working day, so you have time to hit the gym, go for a walk, or take part in a fitness class. Flexible working offers an exciting opportunity to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle, so grab it with both hands and make the most of it.
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