Making flexible working work

One way to recruit and retain good staff is to offer flexible working. Flexible in terms of hours and location.

Many people are uncertain how to make the change to remote working and struggling to recruit high calibre people. At Hudson Accountants we offered flexibility over hours and, to a lesser extent, location but Minerva Accountants is fully remote. So how do we do it?

Cloud software is a necessity but the less obvious key is to have good communication.

1. We use a shared inbox. As long as you use the email address anybody can pick up the query or task even if the regular CAM (client account manager) is off. If it will wait until their return we use coloured flags to allocate the emails to a particular person. As well as ensuring that the best person can help with your enquiry it also reduces our digital footprint.

2. Emails are also logged by Accountancy Manager so that they are available to the whole team. We can each follow conversations. For this reason we prefer emails but notes are added of any telephone conversations.

3. We use a central receptionist to answer and allocate all telephone calls. We use VOIP (voice over internet protocol) and Webex phones to enable remote working.

4. We have a brief online call at 9am each morning to discuss what everybody is working on and if they need somebody else to do something to help them.

5. We meet up (in person if possible) once a quarter to review the results of the last quarter, plan our next three months’ targets, and spend a little time chatting.

Do you offer flexible working?

Periods and menopause – for the men

These are often seen as women’s issues but, as about half the workforce are female, they’re things that employers need to know, whether they are male or female.

By the time women are old enough to hit the workforce they should be able to cope with their periods but some women may suffer quite debilitating pain or heavy flow that will affect their work for a few days each month.

Employers can help by:
• Being aware
• Allowing flexible working
• Allowing home working
• Running meetings to time. How many women have been sat waiting to dash to the bathroom when a meeting is dragging on?
• Being a little more sympathetic on the bad days and save the horrid jobs for another day unless it really is urgent (we’ll still get it done as we are professionals, after all)

Menopause is something else that hits women differently around ages 45-55. There is a period of peri-menopause prior to periods actually stopping when the body does strange things and sleep can often be disrupted.

Employers can help by:
• Being aware
• Allowing for different ventilation in different areas for those hot flushes and for variations in uniform if necessary
• Allowing flexible working
• Allowing home working
• Being a little more sympathetic on the bad days and save the horrid jobs for another day unless it really is urgent

For more information then Lauren Chiren over on Linked in does some great training for men as well as women. She’s a professional whose life was set back because she didn’t recognise the symptoms of her early menopause and now she is raising the profile of the topic so that others avoid the same problems.