Don't be too quick to dismiss flexi-work

Don't be too quick to dismiss flexi-work

I STARTED a career portal listing professional and executive flexi-work positions for mothers in 2010.

Since October last year, I have seen a steady increase in the number of employers listing with us; the positions have become more diverse and the number of jobs listed has been growing.

More importantly, many employers - multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises - have become repeat customers after seeing the benefits of flexi-work.

Flexi-work does not equate to loss of control in the workplace.

The case of Playlor! cited in Monday's article ("Fewer firms opting for flexi-work conditions") is not an ideal flexi-work situation. Not having specified periods of face-to-face interaction results in more problems than benefits.

Sales staff should be made to come back to the office for a mandatory team meeting at least once a week.

Also, there should be clear performance appraisal systems, team management structures and staff tracking procedures. Merely tracking results online is not sufficient.

Undeniably, flexi-work systems are not for every position or team. Likewise, not all managers are capable of managing a flexi-work team.

However, there are ways to solve these problems.

Employers who succeed with flexi-work have a clear system in place. Usually, there is pre-implementation planning and distinct communication set-ups. Expectations are clearly communicated before and during work periods.

The number of firms applying for the Work-Life Grant is not a good indicator of interest in flexi-work arrangements.

More than half of the employers listed on our portal turned down the offer of applying for the grant, mostly because of the administrative effort involved.

The motive for wanting to offer flexi-work is not always cost savings.

It would be inaccurate to conclude that fewer firms are taking up flexi-work arrangements based on a few cases of failed attempts or the small number of companies taking up the Work-Life Grant.

Sher-li Torrey (Mrs)

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