Making work work for you

By: Flexing It, 25/10/2012

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Flexible working is rapidly emerging as a great route for organizations and individuals to optimize the way they work. Flexible working covers a gamut of working arrangements right from the popular flexible working hours model that so many IT services organizations offer to their employees, to project based arrangements which are contracted on mutually agreeable terms between a company and a professional.

Common kinds of flexible working include:

  • Contract based working – This is very attractive to small companies like startups, as it enables them to access suitably qualified professionals on a contractual basis, without incurring the fixed costs of employing them permanently. It also holds immense appeal for individuals who have a range of interests/employable talents and who enjoy taking up new work challenges in new environments. Such employees often have time related contracts with the organization i.e. employed for a fixed number of hours/days/months for the duration of the project.
  • Retainership – Another alternative arrangement, particularly beneficial to those organizations where work volumes may fluctuate quite a lot, such as in training companies. These companies have retainership arrangements, whereby they pay a retainer fee to professionals and secure the right to their services, especially at short notice.
  • Professional consultancy services – Widely used by accounting, medical and legal professionals, this arrangement gives the individual and organizations, a great deal of choice, in deciding who they partner with and at what terms.
  • Flexi-time- Apart from certain essential periods/core times, during which you are expected to be working, you get flexibility in how you work the additional work hours.
  • Working from home – A boon in today’s era of stressful commutes, and an especially convenient arrangement for working mothers, this arrangement leverages modern connectivity and technology, to enable you to work remotely, while also being available at agreed upon times to your organization/clients.
  • Part time working - A useful option for professionals who need to balance income generating work with some other priority such as continuing education or pursuing an entrepreneurial idea.

The challenges and the payoffs of each kind of arrangement are different. But across the board, flexible work options are known to improve thehealth and morale of employees, leading to positive effects at the workplace too. With the right amount of creativity and planning, organizations stand to gain hugely by putting in place flexible working arrangements, thereby unleashing a wave of energy and fresh talent within workplaces. And for individuals, the times ahead promise the best of both worlds, freedom along with engagement!

 

Kavita Neelakantan is an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, who works flexibly, as a consultant with education service companies and training and development organizations. She also spends a great deal of time, discovering new worlds with her three year old son. 

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