Flexible working has been a key term in Human Resources since 1970. It denotes a flexible arrangement regarding time, duration and location of work undertaken for any company. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed in recent times a cultural shift in terms of “normal working”: the old norm has given way to flexible working, with the old office layout and distinction between home and family life as well as ideas around input, output, working relationships, responsibility, transparency and communication have exploded to a point of non-recognition.


According to Wikipedia, examples of flexible working are: remote work (or telecommuting, teleworking or future of work), compressed days and job sharing. The idea is to manage work-life balance, reduce employee stress and increase overall job satisfaction. In light of the new pandemic remote work or working from home (WFH) has become the new norm and has to fulfil the above objectives. We need a radical way of thinking, a paradigm shift. In the WFH scenario the employer’s focus is being laid on output instead of input: the number of hours dedicated to work are no longer important when compared to the expected output. The old 9 to 5 routine is dead for a number of companies. Targets and Return on Investment (ROI) are the only measuring tools. Where people work and when they do it is no longer important. The right tools to showcase output are essential.

There is an endless list of key challenges for staff in the WFH scenario:

self-motivation, integrity, ability to cope with a sense of isolation, home office arrangements, discipline, the routine of working from home, ability to bypass distractions e.g. TV, visitors, phone calls. A whole new mindset needs to be embraced. Pep talks are not enough. Change management is the way forward.


A desultory approach towards technology is undergoing a gargantuan transformation. Technology in offices and businesses can no longer be seen as an accessory, a tool which few employees master. There is an explosion in the need for new networking and internet capabilities. Staff need to know about the role of Zoom, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts at their fingertips. Technology enables the workflow, empowers people, allows communication flows, helps team building and reduces social isolation felt by the homeworkers.


Training staff to be self-aware, transparent and responsible about their movements and work is a key component of this new way of working. The employee shows total responsibility towards the new tasks and duties. Communication flows on a two-way level so that each person knows what is to be expected. Any hurdle is dealt with instantly. This brings to mind the need to have new legal frameworks for the current working situation. A radical change in the recruitment and recognition systems is to be put in place in order to identify and reward those who achieve the agreed outputs. Trust among managers and staff is heightened at each stage and micro-management itself is going through a slow death.

On different occasions the original flexible working patterns need to change to meet specific business needs. Ongoing adaptation is thus key to a productive and happy workforce. A different kind of mindset and management are needed. Companies are compelled to select the right people with adaptable mindsets as well as focus on a results-orientated, delegative management style, whether all teams are at the same physical premises or working remotely.


What started as an option has become a necessity in order to thrive in a world facing the Covid-19 challenge. We all want to boost up morale and improve productivity. We all need a safe new world to believe in. Associate Planet, a boutique technology and IT consultancy,works with partners to help businesses embrace flexible working in different ways: the technical set-up, training, the legal framework, and the home office or main office design. We bring along change management for better efficiency and productivity and to foster a happier workforce. Your company can’t afford to miss out. For more info or an informal chat please call Richard on 07831 196534 or email Please feel free to view our website as first point of contact.

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