In our technology-driven age, flexibility is almost a given. Activities like reading and replying to emails on the daily commute, or video chatting with colleagues in a different time zone seem almost insignificant, as the modern-day workplace continues to change shape.
Flexible working has become a huge part of that changing shape, with many innovative businesses seeing the potential in encouraging employees to work from home, or work outside of the 9-5 norm, or spread their work between different locations.
Still, however, there is a small amount of resistance towards flexible working from some business owners; tied to the classic structure of a personalised desk and standardised office hours, they believe that what worked in the past will continue to yield results in the future. Yet, employees are seeking flexible opportunities wherever possible – more than 53% of modern workers would take flexible working over a 5% salary increase.
Why Do Employees Prefer Flexible Working?
A 2016 global study found that 83% of employers and employees who practice flexible working have seen an increase in productivity. Logically, this is not a great surprise – when employees are given the freedom of flexibility, their focus can improve in numerous ways, for example: many flexible workers find that being able to avoid strenuous rush-hour commutes can enable them to be better rested for work, and therefore more efficient.
The benefits are not just in employee productivity and performance, either. It has been suggested that since flexible working is so desired in our society, offering it to employees may attract a higher calibre of staff.
There is also the issue of staff retention – consider that often, employees may leave a company they are otherwise happy with due to lifestyle issues. Flexible working offers a way around these issues, whether it’s allowing them to work around their children’s commitments, or being able to work from home to cut their commuting costs. Flexibility at work can also improve employees’ motivation and mental wellbeing.
What Can Flexible Working Bring to Your Business?
One of the biggest benefits of flexible working to the businesses is the way it can help cut costs. In simple terms, flexible working usually costs a business less – less space may be needed in the office, or a smaller number of desks, as flexible workers can utilise space more efficiently. Technology and equipment can also be shared.
Despite this, flexible desk policies should be managed properly, otherwise desk sharing, or hot desking, can become problematic for employees, and therefore negate the positive effect of having the flexible ethos in the first place. A desk booking system can easily rectify this situation.
Overall, flexible working has thus far only proved to be successful for businesses that manage their flexible working policies effectively. The benefits are both obvious and easy to achieve with the right tools, procedures and attitude.