Flexwork – this is how to make it work

Flexwork – this is how to make it work

Flexible working has many advantages for employees, and for the company as well. Those who wish to make targeted use of these advantages without falling into the "flexwork-trap" can benefit from the following tips.

People are the measure of all things. 

The greatest benefit is flexible working in terms of both time and place. Working conditions adapt to the life situation of the employees – and not vice-versa. This ensures better reconciliation with other life issues: children, the need to care for aging parents, education or self-employment as a sideline. In order to master this balancing act, employers and employees first have to determine the framework conditions: is the workload manageable with the selected model? For which tasks do employees have to be physically present at the office? What arrangements do you have in place for deputizing? Not everything can be clarified in theory. Sometimes you simply have to try things out – and regularly exchange notes. 

Stay present – talk to each other

"Talking regularly" is also the solution for avoiding one of the classical traps of part-time or home office arrangements. A person is not present at the workplace so often – and for this reason may not be considered for interesting projects, work assessments or even for promotion. This does not mean that the work performed by the flexwork employee is of a lower standard. On the contrary, the model can even lead to greater focus and creativity. This is also confirmed by a study carried out by the Vienna University of Applied Sciences in 2016. According to this study, most managers do not notice any difference in performance between full-time and part-time employees. Of those who do notice a difference, 80 percent consider the part-time staff to be more efficient. So it is worthwhile continuing to promote and encourage flexwork employees – with exciting tasks and regular feedback sessions.

Most managers do not notice any difference in performance between full-time and part-time employees.


Vienna University of Applied Sciences, 2016

So that the pension suffices despite flexwork 

Flexwork models with reduced working time not only lead to a loss of salary today, but also to gaps in occupational pensions in the future because less has been paid into such plans. This dilemma can be partly resolved by smart pension fund solutions. Pension losses can also be reduced with a targeted private provision, under pillars 3a and 3b, for instance. Incidentally, in job interviews, flexwork-friendly models for occupational pension plans can be a strong argument for deciding in favor of a certain company. 

Adapting leadership – placing trust 

No matter what model you are considering, flexwork inevitably means that employees have to take on more responsibility and supervisors have to hand over a bit of their control. In the home office, for example, you cannot continually look over an employee's shoulder or onto their computer screen. This is why a healthy relationship of trust is needed for flexible work models. Most employees are in fact very appreciative if a company shows an accommodating attitude – and express their gratitude with special commitment and personal flexibility. 

Men: the part-time taboo 

While flexwork – especially part-time work during the family phase – is almost already the norm for women, men wanting to work according to a flexwork model often struggle with misgivings. Many of them would like to reduce their workload or work from home for a day, but they are afraid of suffering disadvantages at work and perhaps incurring the derision of their colleagues as well. Modern employers can counteract this by making flexwork a topic for discussion, or even by setting an example in relation to flexible working.