A buzzword in today’s workforce, ‘flexible working’ is when employees can tailor the timing or location of their work, usually to the mutual benefit of the individual and organisation (CIPD, 2018). And even though it is talked about frequently, it’s now apparent that employers should start to understand why their employees want flexible working for a better work-life balance, and how to make sure it’s implemented efficiently.
A recent study has highlighted the importance of flexible working for the younger workforce. More and more people under 45 cite flexible working as important when looking for a job role, demonstrating the increasing need for flexible work opportunities from employers.
Why is a flexible work-life so important today?
Each individual will have a list of reasons why flexible working suits them, from childcare arrangements to simply being more of an ‘early bird’. A study suggests that the main reasons a company should offer flexible working to their workers is so they can maintain a good work-life balance, be reassured in an emergency situation and feel trusted and valued by the employer. This means that more people have the opportunity to stay in work, no matter their personal situations may be.
So why doesn’t everyone do it?
There are a number of factors. Some industries will require certain hours of operation, but with most, there is a lack of understanding about the benefits of flexible working, to the detriment of that company. 14.3% of employees not offered flexible working have considered moving to an organistion that has a flexible culture. Allowing flexible working can attract people from different backgrounds and experiences, contributing to a more productive and innovative workforce. And while 87% of people want the option of flexibility, only 11% of jobs advertise it, so employers could be missing out on key talent.
This gives a significant advantage to those businesses offering flexibility. Attracting talent is one benefit, but happy employees can make a world of difference to both company culture and overall business success. Higher levels of engagement, can reduce turnover by 87%, which means that flexible working not only brings people in to a company, but encourages them to stay.
So, we’ve seen the evidence, but how can it be implemented?
There are a variety of ways that you can encourage flexible working in your company:
- Working hours: varying start times for employees, allowing them access to the office when suits them (and the business) best.
- A diverse working environment: working somewhere that has more than just a desk. The ability to move about, sit on a sofa or look at a lovely view can do more than you think for productivity.
- Location: Having a city centre location means that employees have easy transport links – making the trip to, and out the office, quick. Leaving more time for evening activities. Or even allow the occasional day working from home.
- The wellness factor: Having opportunities that encourage both professional and personal development. From fitness classes, mental health workshops to business networking, they can all add to work happiness.
- The right company: Surround yourself with others who work flexibly. This relieves the pressure of a ‘clock-in, clock-out’ environment, as everyone is coming and going as they please!
Implementing flexible working is easier said than done. On top of the day-to-day stresses of running a business, implementing additional measures for staff wellbeing can be time consuming. However this doesn’t make them any less important. Flexible workspaces, like Avenue HQ, can make the transition easier, or even enhance what is already offered to employees. As we increasingly search for the perfect work-life balance, having happy employees is a good place to start. Why not ask your team what would make their life a little easier? It could make a world of difference…