The average adult in the UK spends 57% of their waking hours working, but research has shown that only 28% are highly satisfied with their jobs.*

However, it’s been suggested that when employees are encouraged to design their own jobs, workplace happiness and productivity often increase. And it’s not changes to job titles that positively effects employee wellbeing, but things like job security, social elements at work, clear responsibilities, on-the-job training and learning opportunities.

See also: The importance of retaining employees

Here are four ways to design jobs to create a happier and healthier team.

1. Flexible working and working remotely

A recent study from PageGroup lists flexible working hours as the most wanted workplace benefit, with 71% of survey respondents listing flexitime as important to them.

With the technology available to us now, not every job requires a physical presence. Yes, being in the office can be great for brainstorming and talking through challenges, but this doesn’t have to be every day.

Not only will offering home-based working widen your potential talent pool, it also shows staff that you trust them to do their work. With the right software and constant communication, workers can do their jobs efficiently.

Flexible working, when done right and expectations are set, is a win-win scenario. Employees can commit to a full-time job while maintaining a good work-life balance. This has a positive impact on productivity, engagement and motivation, which means improved performance and staff retention for your business.

2. Job sharing

As the concept suggests, job sharing means two employees share the same role. Both work only a few days a week. Sometimes there’s a day of crossover so they can hand over work.

See also: Five top tips when it comes to managing people

They’ll have more time outside of the office, but you’ll always have someone to cover that one role. Not to mention, you have double the brains and enthusiasm.

For this to work, however, they have to be accountable and completely transparent when communicating with each other and to you.

Both employees need the same set of goals and, more importantly, they need to be able to stick to plans and share both accountability and any glory.

The biggest challenges for employers will be finding employers that are compatible and with a similar work ethic. This process calls for a major change of mindset and the way you think about resourcing and hiring moving forward, but it can be effective when done well.

3. Planning workflow efficiently

Firefighting… We’ve all been there and there is nothing more we want than to be acting proactively rather than reactively to situations.

It’s one thing to put yourself under pressure as the owner of the business, to meet deadlines and achieve outcomes, but to also be expecting the same from your employees can see stress levels rise and can end in disaster. Employees will burn out or become ill, and the quality of work will decline as staff struggle to juggle multiple jobs.

But preventing scenarios where employees are overburdened starts with you.

Think of how you currently work in the business. What is your workflow? When are deadlines most likely to loom ahead? What are the bottlenecks and is there a time-management issue you need to address?

Learn how your employees manage their work and how they respond to deadlines, and plan ahead as much as possible.

By understanding these factors, you can implement a system which works for your business and your employees. Set clear expectations on the quality and timeliness of work as early as possible and monitor progress to see if you need to adjust the system you have in place.

See also: Employee handbooks - where to get started

4. Designing opportunities to delegate and collaborate

Both delegating and collaboration are essential tools for efficient work management. If too much hinges on the performance of one person, it adds an immense amount of pressure on teams and your bottom line.

In addition to managing your workflow, think about key employees that need to add their input into various phases of work.

Break up tasks so that collaboration becomes an essential part of delivering work.

While it might take time to find out which employees’ strengths will deliver in various situations, always make sure that every single person on your team is accountable for their part of the workflow. This will give them a sense of autonomy and personal pride in being instrumental to the performance of your business.

Managing people is not an easy task, but it’s an important job that needs to be done and done well. Taking the time to ensure employees are happy and motivated will help productivity and increase outputs no end.

*An international study from the University of East Anglia and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing

job satisfaction, managing people, employees, workplace management

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