18 May 2021

How HR can implement flexible working systems to meet changing expectations

In a recent Ciphr webinar, Nick Whiteley, the CEO from HFX, argues that the move to flexible working benefits organisations and employees – but how can HR manage these processes to meet the changing expectations of their people?


Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov was head of content at Ciphr from October 2020 to September 2021. He specialised in content related to HR systems and HR software.


HR transformation Technology


In a recent Ciphr webinar, Nick Whiteley, the CEO from HFX, argues that the move to flexible working benefits organisations and employees – but how can HR manage these processes to meet the changing expectations of their people?

Flexible working is defined by the CIPD, as “a flexible working arrangement an employee has some say over how, where or when they work.” However, as pointed out by Nick Whiteley, CEO of HFX, in a recent Ciphr webinar, “there is always a balance to be had between the needs of the organisation and the desires of the staff.” The way to succeed is to implement systems that help you find the right balance.

Flexible working is not new, but the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed it to the forefront to enable business continuity. The pandemic has also nudged organisations to prioritise the health of their people, both the physical and the mental. This has resulted in a more flexible way of working, for both employers and employees. 36% of employers have seen an increase in flexitime during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 70% want to keep working flexitime, according to research by Flex Appeal.

There are several flexible working schemes, from the compressed week scheme, where an employee might only work three to four days a week, or an extended week, where an employee might have their hours extended over more days. Another example is the blended day, in which an employee’s day is divided into slots rather than the traditional 9-5.

As we head towards the post-Covid world, it benefits organisations to continue offering flexible working arrangements. Whiteley says, “Offering flexible working makes the employer more attractive and helps to retain staff. Employers will also be able to increase their candidate pool, as they’re no longer limited by their geographical location.” One organisation implementing flexible working is PwC, enabling their staff to personalise their working day.

Another benefit is that employees are taking fewer sick days when they’re working remotely. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that absence due to sickness has declined from 1.9% to 1.8%, the lowest since records began in 1995.

Most importantly, the pandemic has changed us all, fundamentally. Whiteley says, “after a year of working from home people have changed their behaviour, and now if you’re proposing going back to how things were, there would be just as much change now as there was in the first place.” To highlight the change in employee behaviour, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), by September 2020 the average time for starting work was 10.45am.

Three ways to implement flexible working systems

The first step in setting up any flexible working scenario is ensuring that your flexible working policies are up to date and your people have read and accepted any changes that you might have made. To implement your schemes, you’ll want to analyse your business priorities and build your requirements by talking to all relevant stakeholders. If you decide you need technological solutions to help you manage your flexible working schemes, consider the following.

1.Time and attendance software

Specialist time and attendance software, such as HFX, is usually hosted in the cloud, which makes it easier to implement and manage. It enables HR teams to manage work patterns and record absence data, regardless of the size of the organisation or their sector. HFX can even capture sickness and absence data and empowers HR teams to create flexible working arrangements for their people.

2.Specialist HR software

With specialist SaaS HR software, such as Ciphr HR, you’re investing in both the present and the future ways of working, as the software can grow to accommodate the changing needs of your organisation. Ciphr HR gives you self-service functionality so that HR managers can view, manage and report on any shift worked, while employees can submit their absences on any device.

3.Integration with your HR software

A best-of-breed approach can help your people use the software they prefer, with the functionality that provides the best results for your organisation. An integrated approach means that you can connect time tracking systems to your HR software, for an improved user experience. This also reduces the need to duplicate information in different systems, improving data integrity.

Watch the full webinar below: