Agile working policies: 3 examples from truly influential businesses

Agile working policies: 3 examples from truly influential businesses

recent survey found that 46 percent of companies are committed to developing agile working policies within their organisation.

But what exactly is agile working?

Agile working favours flexibility over structure, minimises traditional constraints, champions mobility and allows employees to do their best work. In short, organisations create agile working policies to empower their employees.

Intrigued?

Let’s explore the agile working policies of some of the world’s most inspiring companies and discuss how you can replicate their success in your own business.

Agile working policy 1: Maximise flexibility, minimise constraint

Who?

Unilever is a consumer goods giant, consisting of household brands such as Lynx, Lipton and Hellman’s. They sell products in more than 190 countries.

Who?

Unilever has long been a leader in establishing agile working policies. Some of its policies include:

  • Banishing time sheets in favour of measuring performance
  • Creating specific working zones for different levels of concentration
  • Investing in a choice of technology to support worker mobility

Unilever understands that a business achieves more when its employees are engaged and happy.

How to implement this policy in your business

Unilever creates an environment that allows employees to excel, whether it’s by creating specific zones to aid focus or by providing tools to improve mobile working.

So, why not look into highly-regarded employee mobility tools, such as Microsoft IntuneOffice 365 or Skype for Business? Or work with your staff to design an office space that boosts their productivity?

Agile working policy 2: Champion a remote workforce

Who?

WordPress.com is an open-source content management system. It is also the 15th most visited website in the world.

How are they agile?

WordPress is 100% remote. Yes, you saw that correctly; the company’s distributed workforce spans the entire globe, with each employee working from their own environment.  

But, how do they make it work?

  • They favour instant messaging over email.All employees use the same instant messaging tools to communicate, and conversations are usually visible to the entire company.

  • They work on their culture. WordPress understands that a remote team won’t work unless their employees are motivated. That’s why it works hard to build a culture that nurtures productivity.

How to implement this policy in your business

It’s relatively easy to introduce a remote working initiative; you just need to equip yourself with the right tools. Here are two examples:

  • Office 365 is a cloud-based platform, perfect for collaborating with remote workers. The suite has multi-editing features which allow users to access the same document, file or spreadsheet simultaneously.

  • Slack is an instant messaging tool that’s used by 43 percent of Fortune 100 companies. It forgoes the formality of email for a much more intuitive social experience. For those who already have Office 365, there’s also Microsoft’s instant messaging tool, Teams.

Remote working has been shown to aid productivity and employee retention. However, before you roll out a remote working initiative, remember to put security at the forefront of your plans.

Allowing your employees to use personal devices in remote locations is only a risk if you let it become one. By investing in the best security measures, your workers can work safely wherever they are:

  • Multi-factor authentication is a security system that requires more than one method of authentication to verify user identity. 

  • Firewalls are an essential security feature that prevent unauthorised access to your private computer network. We install SonicWall Firewalls for our clients to help protect them from ransomware, phishing and encrypted threats.

Agile working policy 3: Create a results-only work environment

Who?

Mindtools is one of the world’s most popular career and management learning solutions.

How are they agile?

Mindtools is one of the many companies who’ve created a results-only work environment. This means that instead of measuring an employee’s working hours, they assess performance, results and output. They say:

“The focus is on results and goals. This means that team members are clear about what they need to achieve, and how this contributes to the organisation’s objectives as a whole.”

How to implement this policy into your business

Relaxing your company’s attitude to time sheets is a great way to become more agile.

While this may feel counterproductive, remember that long hours don’t necessarily equal good results. In fact, studies have shown that the UK works longer hours that most of our European neighbours, and yet our workforce is one of the least productive.

So, why not throw out time sheets in favour of a points system? You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Your employees are the key to success

While these companies operate in very different industries, they all have one thing in common. They all understand the importance of employee engagement in business.

By empowering their teams with a productive environment, performance-based assessment and remote working opportunities, they have created some of the world’s most successful businesses.

Armed with the right tools and mindset, you too can create agile working policies that strengthen your business. So, what’s stopping you?