Christmas is so close, we can almost taste the turkey. But before we can put our feet up and enjoy the festivities, there’s a sizeable mound of work that needs to get done. And, when we combine that with present buying and merrymaking with friends and family, it can make the lead up to the 25th feel nothing short of manic.

 

No doubt your team are working extra hard to tick off their to-do lists, which can cause stress levels to rise in the office. But there’s something you can offer that will help to keep stress at bay and bring some festive cheer to your employees: flexibility.

 

Seareach.plc.uk polled more than 3,000 office-based workers to find out if they’d like to change how they work in the run-up to the big day. An overwhelming three-quarters (75%) of respondents replied ‘yes’ to the question: ‘Would you like to have more flexible working over the Christmas period?’

 

As Dealer Support notes, among the respondents who wanted their company to offer flexible working practices, 51% wanted to be able to work from home, while 49% said they would like opportunity to work flexible hours.

 

Commenting on the results, Seareach’s Stuart Jailler said employees don’t just want to work from home to save time and money avoiding the daily commute, but also to spend more time with their families.

 

“If companies can look at allowing flexible working hours and the option for staff to work from home, especially at busy periods such as Christmas, it can make for a more productive office environment because staff will be happier and more focused,” he said.

 

Jailler noted how employers may have concerns about staff working remotely, including security issues, fairness and lack of teamwork and productivity. Though, he said, there are ways to tackle such concerns – such as:

 

 

 

 

 

Communication

 

Communication is key to success in any job or situation, but is even more important when staff are working flexibly or remotely. Employees need to make sure they regularly check in with managers and colleagues, letting them know about their working hours and availability, as well as work-related updates. This will see employees take the lead on communication, but management can offer tools such as apps that enable staff to track hours worked and tasks completed.

 

Tools

 

Strong communication relies on technology. There are many apps that will allow employees to work collaboratively regardless of where they are, including Slack, Trello, Team Week and Skype. You need to make sure your team has suitable set-ups at home, including strong, consistent Wi-Fi and secure laptops or home computers.

 

Security

 

Since GDPR, security has remained front of mind for companies with remote workers. Some things you can do to limit the risk of data being lost, mishandled or breached whilst staff are working from home include:

 

  • Ensuring strong passwords and log-in procedures are used
  • Utilising asset label tracking for devices
  • Using encrypted emails and limiting remote access where necessary
  • Avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi and computers

 

Being a flexible employer will help your team strike that golden work-life balance this festive season. You can also find some more tips on beating workplace stress in this recent blog post.

 

In the meantime, if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to revamp your office, why not get in touch with the experts at Kerr to find out how we can help?