As with anything there are challenges when implementing/practicing flexible work arrangements. It is only through understanding and preparing for these challenges can one make flexible work arrangements a success.
Challenges are faced by both individuals and organizations.
For organizations one main concern is around employee equality. Within organizations some roles are suited for flexible working while others are not. Some employees fully meet the criteria for flexibility while others don’t. These will lead to disconnect, divisions and resentment within employees and would hamper the success of flexible working arrangements. Establishing clear policies, criteria, procedures with constant, open communication is mandatory to avoid these issues.
Another challenge for organizations would be the resistant from managers/supervisors. Managers’ lack of trust on remote workers, fear of changing management styles, fear of control would cause managers to resist the implementation of workplace flexibility. Setting up manager training programs , support programs and constant mentoring will go a long way in overcoming this challenge.
One of the main challenges for individuals is the negative perception on flexible working within the organizational cultures. Most organizations (especially in Sri Lanka) emphasis on face time, which leads to misconception where flexible arrangements impede career progression. Organization should use informal and formal communication to reverse this trend and promote work flexibility for more high performing employees. Organization culture should cultivate results based performance. This requires the top management to take an active and open role in the implementation and /or practice of workplace flexibility.
Another challenge for individuals is the general ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ dilemma. When working remotely from one’s team you fear of, missing out on the informal, impromptu discussions; keeping up with coworkers would be challenging and solitude. Solution is to use new communication methods and tools to ensure your online presence with the rest of the team in a consistence and continuous manner. Supplementing online presence with ad-hoc in person time with the team would help to make flexible work arrangements a success.
Considering these various challenges from both ends it is imperative to implement and practice workplace flexibility policies through carefully designed and well-thought-out programs from the very beginning. This will ensure that you as an organization or as an individual is enabled to Make It Work…..