Flexible working in Ireland

09 July 2019

There’s a growing popularity for working across hours that support a better work-life balance. Fully flexible working hours provide your workforce with a chance to meet the needs of their personal life. So it’s no surprise employees tend to love the option.

Although it’s still seen as something of a perk, more and more businesses are introducing it as a common policy. If you’re wondering whether it’ll work with your business, you can read this guide for guidance and information on the laws you should consider.

What are flexible working hours?

Sometimes referred to as “flexitime”, these sorts of hours allow employees to alter the time they start and finish. So, a flexible working hours meaning is as follows—you can really look at it as a way of providing a better work-life balance for your employees.

How to introduce flexible work schedules

Flexible working in Ireland is still seen as a progressive option for businesses to pick. It’s in no way mandatory under current laws—you don’t have to offer it to your workforce. However, it’s seen as something of a major perk a business can offer to its staff.

During the recruitment stage, it’s a good idea to mention your policy in a job spec—many candidates will find the option beneficial in their lives. There are challenges your business will face in introducing the measure. It’s not simply a case of rolling it out. For example, you must take into consideration:

  • The range of operational pressures your organisation faces on a daily basis.
  • Your customer service expectations.
  • Whether your line managers can manage the change.
  • The amount of senior support for the policy.
  • If it’s practical for your business or not.

If it’s clear that you can manage the move, then you should follow a specific process. Small and medium-sized businesses should follow these action points:

  • Have a clear cut process for how your flexible work arrangements will come into effect in your business. Document your process and circulate how it will work to all of your employees. Confirm everything in writing for your records.
  • Ensure you understand how senior management and HR play their part in managing your procedures.
  • Offer line managers training where necessary so they understand how a flexible working day will work.
  • Consider the impact on your company culture, as the policy will affect how employees perceive your daily operations.
  • Consider a trial run of your procedures so employees can understand how it will work. You can also gauge how your workforce responds to it—the reaction may not be as organised or positive as you first hoped.
  • Build-in processes to manage and evaluate your policy.

It can be difficult to launch a new HR policy. Making sure it streamlines with your daily functioning can be tricky, so be sure to manage expectations. Expect a period where everyone gets used to the new policy, which may include some misunderstandings about how it works.

Again, you can combat such issues with training and documentation explaining the policy.

Advantages and disadvantages of flexible working

Unsurprisingly, this type of perk is usually very popular with employees. It allows greater freedom and allows them to fit their day job around their personal lives to a greater extent. Some of the benefits this provides to you and your workforce include:

  • A better work-life balance, which is always popular with employees. It can, as a result, make staff happier in your workplace.
  • Better productivity as your workforce relaxes and enjoys perks such as avoiding the rush hour commute.
  • A progressive reputation for your business. You can advertise your flextime on your job specs, which can encourage candidates to apply.

However, there can be disadvantages you should consider and manage accordingly:

  • It’s not suitable for all industries, so consider whether it’s practical for your average working day.
  • Have policies in place to ensure staff members don’t abuse the policy and think they can get away with lateness.
  • It can be difficult to implement, which can be disruptive if you’re at a particularly busy time with your business. As such, it’s best to introduce the policy when your workload is low.

Looking to introduce flexitime?

If you need advice about this matter for your business, get in touch on 0818 923 923 and we’ll talk you through the process. 

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