When managed correctly, flexible working can benefit both employees and employers. However, the fact that only 36% of employers have an official flexible working policy, suggests that not everyone is convinced. Flexible working typically allows employees to adapt their working pattern to best suit their needs and lifestyle. The most common types of flexible working are:
- Flexi-time – Having flexible start and finish times, which allows employees to work their contracted hours during the times of their choosing
- Compressed hours – Allowing employees to work their contracted hours over fewer days
- Working from home – Giving employees the option of where they work
Flexible working is obviously beneficial for employees, especially working families, who now have the option of adapting their work around their priorities.
Employers are rather more sceptical; however, they can reap just as many benefits. Having employees that are not tied to their desks, means that businesses can stay one step ahead of their competitors, working to schedules that best suit their client’s needs. For example, having team members that start and finish late will mean there is always someone available for last minute amendments of a project (without you having to pay overtime), not only does this make businesses more accessible to their clients, improving their client satisfaction rates, but they can also complete projects in a timelier fashion.
In addition, with employees beginning to regard flexible working as a key benefit, offering flexible working will put businesses in a better position of securing high calibre employees. It has also been reported that allowing employees to work from home has led to a reduction in sick leave. Despite these advantages, flexible working is still regarded negatively by some. For example, some would argue that flexible working hinders budgets as office space is underutilised. However, if managed correctly, growing businesses can actually save as instead of moving to larger premises the company can opt for their employees to work from home, reducing their overheads.
Though there may be some flaws in the concept of flexible working, it looks to be here to stay. Therefore, it is important for companies to embrace the change, trust their employees and look at how they can use it to their benefit.