The whole point of flexible working is that it’s flexible, so what works for one person may not work for another, but if everyone allows flexibility, then ultimately it should work for everyone. According to a recent report by Timewise, 87% of full-time workers in the UK either already work flexible hours or wish they could, and a 2017 survey found that ‘flexibility and greater work-life balance’ came out as the most critical motivation when considering a new role.
While it can be obvious why this way of working will benefit employees and why so many will want it, people often overlook how beneficial it can be to employers when this way of working makes complete business sense and here are the reasons why:
A Wider Talent Pool To Choose From
The research from Timewise also showed that flexibility was similarly crucial for men and women, and for different age groups (with 72% of baby boomers, 88% of Generation X and 92% of millennials preferring this way of working). So, as flexibility has shown to be a high priority for just about everyone, then if it’s something that a business offers it automatically means that as an employer you will have a far more full talent pool to choose from when recruiting which also means that you will end up with a more inclusive workforce.
Improved Employee Retention
Offering flexibility not only helps a business attract great people, but it also helps keep hold of them too. According to a survey by the CIPD, 75% of employers said that flexible working has a positive effect on retention. Having a happier workforce will ultimately keep them working for you for longer, so for example, if people don’t have to spend hours of traffic jams or travel on packed trains in the morning, then they will be far less stressed when it comes to starting work in the morning. Stress is not suitable for anyone’s health, and working from home can play a big part in reducing overall stress levels simply by taking your daily commute out of the equation. It also allows people to have more control over how they manage their time, and this in itself reduces the need to cram in work between strict office hours, which only increases stress. It is no surprise that organizations who have a culture of long working hours are creating an environment where staff burnout and high staff turnover is more likely.
The survey by the CIPD said that 73% of people believe that flexible working improved motivation too. There are likely to be a lot less sick days if freedom and flexibility are a perk which makes people feel good about their jobs and also feels trusted, which means they will be more motivated.
Not only will this way of working open the company up to a broader talent pool which will result in a more diverse workforce but it is also likely to increase the number of senior women within the organization. A recent analysis by London-based recruitment consulting firm Feel showed that British businesses could gain £1.3 trillion in earnings annually by bringing mothers back to work.
People often think that working remotely will mean that people won’t work as hard as those who work in the office, but actually, the opposite is accurate. According to a survey by BT, the productivity of flexible workers increased by up to 30%, and they took 20% fewer sick days. Also in a study of flexible workers by Cranfield University, 97% of managers said that the quantity of work improved or stayed the same, and 93% said the quality of the work improved or stayed the same.
Decreased Business Overheads
Flexibility is also beneficial for keeping costs down in business because if you allow some or all of your staff to work remotely, for example, this can reduce a business’ office footprint and environmental impact, leading to substantial cost savings.
Increased Time For Family
We all know how important a work/life balance is and working in an office is probably one of the most significant barriers to a happy family life. Many full-time workers have to leave home early in the morning and don’t get home until early evening which means they end up spending more time with their work colleagues than their families and if they have young children, they hardly see them during the week. But through flexible working, you can use the time you usually waste traveling to the office and spend more quality time with your family instead.
It’s So Easy
Not only does flexible working have so many benefits, but it’s also so easy to do now, thanks to the advancements in technology. People can access iCloud Mail from anywhere, participate in conference calls remotely – even from the other side of the world, and never miss a thing. It’s not also just being able to get online with a laptop, but with smartphones, people can work on the move all of the time. Employees can work together and share their screens to show documents, use file transfer sites to share imagery and presentations, as well as instant messaging to keep in touch throughout the day. If you wanted to, you could do away with the office and just have everyone working remotely, that would certainly save on overheads and office rent. A defined geographical area no longer constricts companies and as mentioned before, can recruit from the other side of the country and work with clients from the other side of the world.