Managing Flexible Work Schedules Remotely, Realistically Possible?

HRMS system management remote workers

Written by Benjamin for iqDynamics

Flexible work arrangements are all the rage nowadays with employees demanding greater workplace flexibility. From telecommuting to the 4-day work week, the nature of employment is without a doubt changing faster than ever before.

This combined with the rise of the gig-based economy has meant that employees have significantly more options then they once had 30 years ago. 

Even in a nation like Japan with its rigid work culture and history of karoshi, flexible work arrangements have begun to make inroads with employers there. 

From improved rates of productivity to lower rates of absenteeism, the benefits of implementing a flexible work schedule are undeniable. Alongside this, a new generation of workers have begun demanding greater flexibility and better work/life balance in the office. Hence in order to remain competitive in the global war for talent, organizations have no choice but to move with the times.  

Despite the arguments for a more flexible workplace being into place, there are still without a doubt numerous challenges present. These range from issues related to security and accountability to giving managers and supervisors the ability to oversee their staff.

 

For better or worse, a majority of these issues are HR-related. From our research, we at iqDynamics have identified the following issues and how HR management plays a crucial role in addressing it.

 

  1. Difficulty in adjusting for a new management style

 

Management styles vary from individual to individual. Some managers have the ability to trust their subordinates with an assigned task, all without having to closely supervise their progress. Oftentimes, these individuals are better suited to work in a remote-working environment.

However, other managers find that they’d be more comfortable keeping a close eye on what their staff are doing all day. A supervisor who absolutely must know the exact whereabouts of his/her staff at all times will likely struggle in such a situation. Sometimes, it can be an issue of trust or simply the nature of said individual.

Hence when implementing flexible work arrangements, it’s best that leaders work closely with their employees to set the ground rules. 

For example, employees need to understand that flexible work arrangements are a privilege that should be respected i.e. no slacking off during work hours. On the other hand, leaders and managers need to respect the boundaries set for their employees and trust in them.

 

How HR can step in:

While ensuring that work by remote employees get accomplished is the work of the acting manager, the HR team can easily assist the tracking of work done with a cloud time attendance system.

iqDynamics’s Time Attendance System allows for the employees to easily clock and clock out on using their mobile phones at anytime giving managers the ability to ensure work is accomplished in a timely manner

 

  1. Legality issues

 

Despite the numerous benefits of telecommuting and flexible work hours, there still remains the question of legality. When working from home, employees may sometimes work less or more hours which can have an effect on their overtime pay or contractual salary.

When implementing flexible work arrangements at the workplace, employers need to be aware of any potential legal issues that they may face. These can range from unpaid overtimes to claims of discrimination.

 

How HR can step in:

 

The HR department has long been responsible for ensuring that the organization complies with employment regulations and labour laws. Hence, HR professionals need to draft clear and comprehensive workplace policies which outlines the organization’s stand on flexible work arrangements. 

The policy must strictly outline when and if employees are eligible for overtime or additional pay and allowances. iqDynamics’ HR Management system allows the HR team flexibility in building up their own arsenal of policies and regulations while iqDynamics’ payroll and time management software has rules built in place to ensure 100% compliance with the latest Singaporean MOM guidelines. This gives the HR team a piece of mind knowing that any potential breaches of MOM’s regulations will be brought up to attention for handling.

 

  1. Addressing employee expectations

 

Flexible work arrangements mean a variety of different things. Employees could be free to work where and when they want or they could meant that reporting hours are now more flexible. When confusion reigns supreme, people have a tendency to go with their most favoured interpretation.

Naturally this can result in pandemonium erupting which instead of boosting productivity has the opposite effect. Rather than leaving anything open for interpretation, employers need to set very clear boundaries for their employees.

This means stating clearly and in writing how and what freedoms are now available to employees. Not only does this set the ground rules, but it also prevents resentment from building up within the team.

 

How HR can step in:

 

Flexible work arrangements can dramatically impact an organization’s culture and performance; for better or for worse. Thus when setting up the groundwork, rules and responsibilities of job roles must be clearly stated. This prevents any opaque interpretations that allow people to take advantage of their new freedom.

HR professionals need to work together with managers and leaders to ensure that the performance of staff are accurately measured. Some leaders may become biased against remote working employees as their perceived absence may be mistaken as a lack of contribution.

To overcome this, iqDynamics’ 360 degree performance management system lets employers take a comprehensive look at the performance of an individual employee. Aspects such as ad-hoc projects, peer appraisals and also time logged ensure that each employee gets a fair assessment. Furthermore with our journaling function, managers and supervisors can keep track of achievements through the year to be reviewed at the end of the appraisal cycle. 


The future of employment lies with the rise of flexible work arrangements. With the nature of work changing dramatically, HR professionals too need to change up their game. Thanks to our comprehensive suite of integrated HRMS solutions, we are ready for the future. Contact us here if you are keen on exploring a comprehensive HRMS that works to your business process. 

 

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