The way in which we work is ever changing, and with technological advances and employees needs changing, flexible working is something that is becoming increasingly popular. The regular 9-5 working day isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ any more, but flexible working can be a solution.
People may be interested in a flexible approach to working for several reasons; Improving their work-life balance, reducing stress, improving their work-family balance, and having the opportunity to take part in other things that aren’t work related, to name a few.
There have been many benefits recorded from companies who are offering the option of flexible working. These included; increased employee satisfaction (which in turn led to increased customer satisfaction), cost effectiveness, increased retention of a skilled and diverse workforce, and extended operating hours. (theundercoverrecrutier.com)
Research by CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has shown that those with the option to work flexibly, are overall happier workers, and are less stressed. Yet, there are still barriers for workers accessing a flexible work arrangement. This is something that needs to be considered by companies and HR Managers, as it is something that workers are increasingly seeking, and it will promote employee engagement and loyalty. In the study by Powwownow, 60% of respondents said that they believed flexible working would enable them to be more efficient and work smarter. (Smallbusiness.co.uk)
Of course, flexible working has some potential downfalls, including; pressure on employees who maybe don’t want to be included in flexible working, potential operational difficulties, scheduling issues, and communication problems if employees and employers aren’t in the same place regularly. (theundercoverrecruiter.com)
In another study carried out by Powwownow among 2000 working professionals, it was revealed that young people are the most likely of any working age group to consider flexible working, yet they are the least likely to be offered it and are having to go out of their way and ask. This is similar with employees aged between 35-44 years, who are also having to proactively ask. (Smallbusiness.co.uk)
Employers should consider whether flexible working is right for their company, how they will implement it, and think of the potential benefits and risks of it. Once they have considered these, they should decide whether flexible working is right for them, and whether they should be more open to it.
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