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Employees about working flexibly: “easy to feel guilty”
A new study shows that the main challenge of flexible working is to set boundaries between work and private life.
“Setting the boundaries is the really difficult part; many tend to work too much, for example by checking emails in the evenings without defining it as working time. Clearly, there is a lot we can improve,” says Sofie Bjärntoft, researcher in flexible working at University of Gävle.
The study shows that the organisation has a great responsibility in ensuring that flexible work arrangements are beneficial for the employees.
Group interviews with employees who work flexibly provided the researchers in Gävle with concrete suggestions on how to promote a good working environment. These suggestions were then divided according to whether the issue was the reponsibility of the organisation, the group, or the individual.
“To focus on how the organisation needs to adapt is new. Previously, the individual has been the primary focus. Including concrete suggestions for improvement is also new,” Sofie Bjärntoft says.
Employers: a manager who can adapt leadership practices
- Give instructions on when and where to work
- Be in touch more and give clear feedback, which shouldn’t be just work-related
- Contribute to the group climate, get the group to work together as a team
Any organisation needs a shared vision and guidelines on flexible working. Moreover, the manager should adapt those to the group in question and communicate to the group that they should be working as a team.