Avoiding common flexible working pitfalls as an employer: communication

Avoiding common flexible working pitfalls as an employer: communication  Listing Image

We know that our candidates (your future travel talent) want flexible working conditions. At Ambitions Travel Recruitment, we are absolute proponents of flexible working arrangements and have discussed the benefits in detail.

However, this style of working comes with issues and pitfalls. Acknowledging the downsides and disadvantages of flexible working is an important step in mitigating the risks and ensuring a fair deal for both the employer and employee.


What are the downsides of flexible working? 


One of the most significant pitfalls of hybrid and remote working is isolation, particularly in the travel industry, where so many businesses pride themselves on their company culture. Employees who work from home for long periods may feel lonely, disconnected from their colleagues, and miss the social interactions that occur in an office environment. This is especially true within teams with only one or two remote workers. 


Reduced productivity 

Another potential pitfall of hybrid working is reduced productivity. Employees working from home may be more susceptible to distractions, such as household chores, children, or pets. It’s also true that some employees simply need more hands-on management than others. Everyone is different; the employees that thrive within the supportive environment of an office may become despondent without it.


Onboarding issues  

Even if a new employee is very experienced and able to hit the ground running, they’ll still need to ask colleagues how to use systems, find files, and who to speak to for HR, IT, or finance matters. Asking a nearby colleague is slightly easier than trying to get help on Teams or waiting for a response to an email. A negative onboarding experience can also have an impact on employee retention.


Impact on mental and physical health 

Flexible working arrangements can also increase stress levels for some employees. This can be due to blurred boundaries between work and personal life, difficulty unplugging from work, or feeling like they need to be available 24/7. Additionally, with no commute, if employees are not making the effort to get outside and exercise, the side-effects of a sedentary indoor lifestyle can soon take their toll.


Decreased collaboration 

When employees are working remotely, it can be more challenging to build relationships, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects. In-office informal chats can help quickly solve problems and decide on action plans – a process that can be very tedious with a remote team. Casual chats with colleagues on the next desk or on a lunch break also really help promote team bonding.


How can employers mitigate these issues?


  •       Encourage social interactions through virtual team-building activities, regular check-ins, and video conferencing. Employers can also create shared spaces where employees can work together in person periodically, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.


  •       Another way to combat the common disadvantages of flexible working is to simply provide employees with the tools and resources they need to work effectively from home. This can include setting clear expectations, providing training, and ensuring that employees have the necessary technology and equipment to work remotely.


  •       Provide employees with clear guidelines on when they are expected to be available and when they are not. Employers can also encourage their staff to take regular breaks, set boundaries, and prioritise self-care.


  •       Leverage technology to facilitate collaboration, such as virtual project management tools, video conferencing, and instant messaging.


  •       Create opportunities for employees to work together in person, such as off-site meetings, team-building activities, and collaborative work sessions. Cover the cost for remote workers to attend these events to encourage participation. 


Bottom line 

It’s true that remote and hybrid working comes with its challenges. However, businesses can take proactive steps to address potential pitfalls. By encouraging social interactions, providing employees with the necessary tools and resources, setting clear expectations, prioritising self-care, and leveraging technology to facilitate collaboration, travel businesses can create a successful and sustainable flexible working environment. In doing so, they can reap the benefits of a more productive, engaged, and satisfied workforce. 

A big part of making flexible working work for you and your team is setting clear expectations with new employees. If you would like help refining your offer and job descriptions to accurately reflect your working environment, Ambitions Travel Recruitment can help you get the balance just right.

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