Flexible working = increased productivity

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has recognised that customer and employee needs are changing within the region and wants government departments to find an ideal working environment, to compliment these changes.

COMMENT, Facilities Management

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has recognised that customer and employee needs are changing within the region and wants government departments to find an ideal working environment, to compliment these changes.

To honor his request, the Dubai Executive Council (DEC) is urging these departments to adopt a flexible working concept.

In a press release issued last month, DEC said flexible working will raise performance levels and increase staff productivity, something Mohammed Hasan Middiqui, manager of facility systems, e-Facility Management agrees with. "It's a great idea. Flexible hours will lead to higher employee satisfaction, hence higher productivity."

Dubai Municipality is trialing the flexible hours concept by introducing staggered hours. But there are many other aspects to flexible working, for example, part-time working, flexi-time, job-sharing and home working. However, companies in the region seem reluctant to implement this international working practice and employees who request flexible hours, sometimes being seen as non-committed.

If rolled out to the rest of the working population, the introduction of flexible working will have a large impact on the facilities management sector for two reasons.

From a personal point of view, staff may want to choose the hours they work. From a service delivery point of view, customers may be offered longer opening hours which could result in a better service.

According to businesslink.gov.uk (a website dedicated to providing practical advice for business), flexible working has a positive impact on a company's bottom line.

FM companies could benefit from savings on overheads if employees work remotely, reducing the need for a workstation per employee. They could also be seen as a more attractive employer, enticing potential employees and retaining current staff.

Companies able to provide longer service hours will be able to react to changing market conditions more effectively.

There is also a very valid argument against flexible working in FM. With many companies in the region paying for lower level employee accommodation, travel and catering, flexible working could well increase transportation and catering costs.

The question is, will the implementation of flexible working introduce a profitable return on investment?

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