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Which Country Has the Best Flexible Working Policy?

It can be tough to create a work policy that works for everyone. But, luckily, there are some guidelines you can follow to make the process easier. In this article, we'll go over the basics of flexible working policies – from what they are to how you can implement one. Plus, we'll share some tips on making your flexible work policy as effective as possible. By following these simple steps, you can create a policy that will benefit both your team and your company as a whole.

Flexible Policy Meaning

What are flexible working policies? A Flexible Working Policy is a policy that allows employees to choose when and how they want to work, as long as they meet the requirements of their job. What are the three types of flexible working patterns?

  • Changing Work Hours - Flexible start or finish times for shifts
  • Changing Work Patterns - Allowing job-sharing or split shifts
  • Changing Location - Working from home or any location that the employee chooses

A company's flexible work schedule policy can include one or all of these changes. For example, you may allow employees to have a flexible schedule, but they're still required to work in the office. Or it could work the other way where you allow your team to work anywhere, but the schedule isn't flexible.

What to Consider When Writing a Flexible Working Policy

What else should you consider? The decision mainly depends on the type of work and your company culture. Companies that need constant in-person collaboration like architecture firms or animation studios may have different flexible working policies than data or call centre companies.

Which Elements Should Be Included in the Flexible Working Policy?

Flexible working policies post-COVID tend to get a little complicated, but they don't need to be. What should a flexible work policy contain? Let's use the 5 Ws when writing a news story, as it answers all the basic elements.

  • Who - Who is qualified? Is it all employees or just a specific department?
  • What - What is the nature of flexible work? Is it just a change in schedule, work pattern, or location?
  • When - When does the flexible arrangement start and end? Will you provide temporary or permanent arrangements?
  • Where - If providing an option to work remotely, can employees move to a different country or do they still need to be close?
  • Why - Employees need to explain why they need to have flexible arrangements and if the request gets denied, employers need to prepare an explanation. This is critical, especially for countries with legislation on flexible work. πŸ‘‡ More on this below.

If you're unsure how to put your policy together you can use our flexible working hours policy PDF to help you kickstart your journey to the future of work. The flexible work policy example includes a checklist that you can follow before, during, and after the implementation of a flexible working policy.

How to Successfully Implement a Flexible Working Policy

Planning is one thing; execution is another. Don't fret though. As long as you have a people-first approach and a strong company culture, you'll most likely make the right decisions. Here are 5 tips to get started:

1. Have all policies written up.

Create an official memo or document where all guidelines are listed, so you can refer to one single source of truth once the policy is implemented. It's also ideal to consult with HR and your legal team before finalizing anything.

2. Provide the technological infrastructure.

The next step is to have the right tools to support your team's processes, especially around communication. How are remote employees logging in their hours and tracking their tasks?

3. Set aside enough lead time.

Lead time is needed for the employer and the employee to ensure a smooth transition. How much time is needed to submit a request and how much time does your team need to review that request? In most cases, it takes a total of three months to fully transition to a flexible work schedule, but it definitely shouldn't take that long to approve a single request once your flexible schedule has already been set.

4. Clarify expectations.

It's best to have an onboarding process for flexible employees, so they know exactly what to expect and how to reach out for support.

5. Offer resources and assistance during the transition.

On top of onboarding, you can also provide training to your management team on how to lead a hybrid workforce. πŸ‘‰ Take the first step.

Countries with the Best Flexible Working Policy

If you're looking for countries with the best flexible working policy for inspiration, you might want to observe the approach to hybrid working that the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Malaysia take. These countries have been open and supportive of flexible working options even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flexible Working Policy in the UK

All employees (not just parents) in the UK have the legal right to request flexible working once a year. Once an official request is made, the employer has three months to review the request and make a decision. If approved, the employer needs to update the contract reflecting the flexible work options. If it is disapproved, the employer must explain why the request is denied.

Flexible Working Policy Ireland

In Ireland, all employees can also ask their employer for flexible work options, but there's no legal framework around how a request might be made or handled in this situation. However, the Irish government is working on new legislation as they expect an increase of people asking about a hybrid work setup.

Flexible Working Policy in Australia

Unlike the UK and Ireland, Australia's flexible working policy only covers some employees under the Fair Work Act 2009. These employees include parents who have younger children to take care of, people above 55 years of age, and other people who are experiencing extenuating circumstances. The good news is that, due to the pandemic, more and more companies (especially tech startups) are adopting a hybrid work environment regardless of the official government policy.

Flexible Working Hours Policy in Malaysia

In Malaysia, there are no official legislations that allow everyone to request flexible working. But as employers realize how remote working is not only feasible but more sustainable, the Malaysian government has published 12 toolkits for different categories to help companies understand flexible working arrangements that promote work-life balance. These include, WFH, seasonal work, phased retirement, and another nine types of flexibility.

Create Your Flexible Working Policy Template

If you're looking to attract and retain top talent, your flexible working policy must reflect your company culture. The key takeaway is to be aware of what will work with each employee and focus on how you can help them succeed while still meeting corporate goals. To ensure you're taking the right steps towards implementing a flexible working policy... πŸ‘‰ Download our flexible working hours policy PDF for free!