World Productivity Day – How to boost your productivity with flexible working

World Productivity Day is today and when it comes to bolstering your work efforts, flexible working can be hugely beneficial.

Millions of words have been written on the effects (both positive and negative) of flexi-working schemes, however when done properly there’s little doubt they can help you work more effectively.

Peter Ames from Office Genie looks at how to make them work for you.


Know your rights (and your options)

Everyone in the UK has the right to request flexible working if they have been with a company for 26 weeks or more. Their employer then has to give this ‘reasonable’ consideration and respond within three months.

So these are your rights, but what manner of flexible working are you able to request? Well, suggests these key examples:

  • Home-working
  • Part-time employment
  • Flexi-time
  • Staggered hours (i.e. a different start/finish time to other workers)
  • Compressed hours (i.e. standard hours worked across fewer days)
  • Annualised hours (i.e. ‘core hours’ to be worked across a year, but with flexibility as to when)
  • Phased retirement (i.e. gradually phasing in retirement through introducing part-time work and/or reduced hours)

Focus on the ends, not the means

Perhaps one for the managers, but flexible working tends to work best in companies with a results-orientated culture. A certain amount of trust has to be implicit when people are working flexibly, and focusing on what people do, rather than when they work can make the process a lot more palatable.

If, for whatever reason, this just isn’t feasible at a certain company – then consider ways in which employees can best keep track of their time.

Tools such as Toggl can be invaluable, and are a lot more usable than a simple time sheet.


Treat it like a normal day at work

One really for the home workers here, but make sure you’re treating things as seriously as you would a day in the office, particularly in your morning routine.

Getting up on time and getting ready for work, as if you were heading in for a day in the office, can get you into the swing of things nicely: Pyjamas are flexible-working kryptonite. Even a ‘commute’ (a walk around the block) can be beneficial before you start working.

This goes for people working flexible hours too. For example, if you are starting work earlier than you otherwise would – make sure you adjust your schedule.

An early night is infinitely preferable to a day of exhaustion.


Think outside of the box (room)

While many might see flexible working locations as split firmly between the home, the office and maybe the odd coffee shop, there are a number of other options. Go for one of these and who knows, you might be more productive still:

Dedicated coffee shops: It’s no longer just conventional coffee shops that offer you a space in which to work. Increasing numbers of independent places are labelling themselves as ‘flexible-worker friendly’ – so you don’t feel guilty for dragging out a single coffee for the whole morning.

Libraries: Looking for free WiFi without having to fork out for a couple of lattes? Head to the oft-forgotten local library. You’ll also have more lunch break reading than you could ever possibly want.

Co-working offices: Whether it’s a dedicated desk sharing hub, or space in another company’s office – co-working can be a good option for flexible workers. They are ideal for people who require a more conventional working environment, but are a long distance away from their company’s office. And, when you’re renting your own desk, you make the rules on when you have to be in.

Peter Ames is Head of Strategy at Office Genie – a UK marketplace for deskspace and shared offices.