Prioritizing between one’s “work” and one’s “lifestyle,” or work-life balance is a difficulty known to millions of American workers. Though only 16 percent reported difficulty in balancing work and family in a 2010 National Health Interview Survey Occupational Health Supplement study, the number of stress-related disability claims has nearly doubled, costing industries an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion each year. But as customers expect goods and services outside of “traditional working hours,” and organizations attempt to meet those demands, the individuals working for them are also forced to endure the pressure of creating the right goods, of the right quality and price that will be delivered to customers at the right time.
In this milieu, employers and employees are looking for an alternative ways of working that can stem the sources of stress employees feel while maintaining a level of excellence in this work. The solution in the UK has been called “flexible working.” According to The Guardian, flexible working “is a variation of your working pattern, such as working from home, part-time working, flexitime, job sharing and shift working.” In the UK, flexible working is available to those with 26 or more weeks of service at a company or location of work. As described by The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) in the UK, “Flexible patterns of work can help you to address these pressure by maximizing the available labor and improving customer service. Flexible working can also help you to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity, employee commitment and loyalty.”
Studies have already shown that flexible working improves performance. The organization M1llion for Work Flexibility described how managing flexible working in the workplace results in improved team communication and interactions, an increased understanding of performance goals, and improved customer service among other benefits. But how can organizations begin to implement flexible working patterns without compromising their bottom lines? In particular, how can managers ensure that workers in flexible work arrangements are working as they should?
Digital Notebooks Can Assist with Flexible Working
Unsurprisingly, employers and managers might have concerns that some individuals will use flexible work arrangements inappropriately; however, the use of digital notebooks to monitor work quality and hours could significantly reduce such fears to the benefit of all individuals in a workplace. Digital notebooks on their own have been known in increase work productivity and organization and can be easily implemented in the context of monitoring flexible working. Here are three, specific ways digital notebooks can improve the implementation of flexible working:
- Tracking results: As individuals complete tasks, digital notebooks can be used to update information and keep track of results. Using digital notebooks, a time stamp is added to pages each time a person makes changes; thus, enabling managers to monitor the work of employees while empowering them to work at home or at hours beyond the regular “9 to 5.”
- Evaluating requests: Given that digital notebooks enable managers to keep track of work completed, employers can also used the information stored about their employees to make judgments about requests for flexible working. Thus, instead of having a blanket policy that outright prohibits the use of flexible working, based on an individual’s prior request, decisions can be made on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who can achieve their work goals efficiently at home should not be penalized because of others who abuse the system.
- Immediate feedback: Feedback is one of the most essential components of the employee-employer relationship. In a sense, digital notebooks force employers to provide workers with appropriate feedback from which they can gauge the quality of their work, thus increasing productivity for the company.
Regus reports that “across the globe, flexible ways of working are becoming increasingly the norm of business” and as such, new technology and tools should be implemented in order to enable flexible working, while maintaining an organization’s “bottom line.” Digital notebooks are powerful tools that can be used to achieve such aims. To see how the BIOVIA Notebook can assist you in your work today, please contact us today.