Flexible working is a logical evolution

But have the systems evolved to support it?

For HR leaders bogged down by archaic IT systems,Phil Wainewright’s article about fast lane, cloud-based software systems could hardly have had more appropriate timing – legislation that came into effect on 30 June means that 20 million people now have the right to request flexible working hours. For those working on legacy HR systems, this potential massive boost for productivity just becomes a headache.

The new legislation allowing employees to request the possibility to work flexibly should be as exciting news for employers as it is for workers; there is huge scope for increased morale, job satisfaction, and the resulting improvement in talent recruitment and retention.

Most employees are used to living with expectations of superfast broadband, cloud computing and smart phones; as well as offering us a million ways to fritter away our spare time, it is also allowing us the freedom to choose when, and where, we work. This legislation is just the next logical step in our working world which enables us to work 24/7, from wherever we are most productive.

This week HR Magazine writes of the management processes that need to be considered by HR teams and how to comply with new regulations. However, with 75% of global organisations running on antiquated HR systems, the challenge of administrating a fluid workforce could mitigate its many benefits.

The real question is: how can this process be automated? When basic HR systems do not even allow employees to update their payroll details when their bank account changes, how can they keep up with employees working at different times, from different locations, and on varying devices?

92% of HR teams claim to have inadequate data analytics, so are effectively in the dark when it comes to the fixed workforce as it currently stands, let alone one that is becoming more flexible. Add in the additional contingent workforce of freelancers and contractors, and it’s easy to see how HR departments and business leaders could be daunted by the organisational upheaval that flexible working could provoke.

Flexibility is a great thing; great for employers and employees alike. But let’s provide the right tools to our people managers to enable them to do their jobs. Self-service, automated technology which provides HR leaders with visibility of their workforce, and puts them one step ahead to deploy legislations like this one, could be the difference between stagnation and acceleration.

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