I'm sat in my kitchen on a Friday at 10:45am typing this out.
I've logged onto the VPN and am able to access all of the relevant folders and documents as if I'm in the office. Mobile phone at the ready and a coffee to keep me going.
Yes, I am lucky to have the flexibility and technology, thanks to my employer, to work from home. But is this now a perk to the job or an expectation on the part of me?
It's an interesting question and one that is hard to really answer definitively. My employer expects me to travel. Only last week I found myself flying up to Perth Scotland, staying the night then returning home walking through the door at 10:30pm. I'm off into Europe next week for a meeting, it's a fly in and fly back in the day and involves a taxi at 5:00 am and probably getting back home near 10:30 pm again.
Now I'm not after any sympathy here. I'm not expecting an orchestra of violins to play to the woes of my job. Because it's precisely that, my job. I knew what I was getting into and I knew that there will be days such as this.
I also knew my employer would be flexible in their approach, to allow me to work through the course of the day and from where I need to be. Sometimes this is in a hotel room, sometimes on a client site and sometimes from home. There is an understanding an almost informal agreement.
And this is what the attached article relates to. The Flexible Working Task Force has carried out a number of studies and seen that employees using flexible working arrangements has plateaued. This is despite better and more suited technology enabling flexible working opportunities.
It's almost as if the managers are worried about the performance of their team and their ability to carry out the task they need to without someone there to oversee it.
This got me thinking; Is it a generational thing? Are people of a certain age used to working in an office therefore need that comfort blanket?
Not if I look at myself and my manager that can't be it right?
Is it more to do with there being a lack of understanding about how to manage a workforce with flexible working?
Hmmm....I've convinced myself this might be one of the underlying reasons.
I remember my management training and various coaching sessions I undertook when I first started to manage people. Not one of them said, and here's how you implement, encourage, manage and monitor flexible working options.
We are operating in a fast paced and ever evolving and improving technological time. Yet our practices have not yet completely caught up with this so more often than not we're left alone to muddle along with some vague and ambiguous guidelines that are buried deep in your manager's handbook.
What needs to happen is a thorough embracing of this way of life. A sensible leadership discussion about how best to implement flexible working, what flexible working methods will work best for the company and then build out a strategy. Once this is done make sure it is cascaded and discussed with those that will be both using flexible working and those required to manage the people using it.
My opinion is that we are all encouraging flexible working without truly understanding how to utilise and manage it in orderto make it fully work for the employee and the employer.
What do you think?
The number of people using flexible working arrangements has flatlined since 2010, despite the right to request flexibility being extended to all employees since 2014.