Employees have the right to request flexible working, with employers having a legal obligation to consider granting it. However, actively encouraging flexible working can bring many benefits to a business. Here, we look at the top ten reasons for creating a flexible culture in your workplace.
If an employee has a personal commitment that their employer cannot accommodate, there’s always the chance that they’ll “pull a sickie” so they don’t have to go into work. These are hours lost for the employer, and repeated incidents will harm productivity and staff morale. Letting employees alter their hours so they have a greater work-life balance means they can work the time back, and also increases loyalty towards the company.
Larger pool of potential employees to recruit from
People unable to commit to working in an office from 9 to 5 every weekday would be excluded from being able to apply for certain jobs. For an employer, this could mean losing out on potentially talented employees for logistical reasons rather than an inability to do the job. Removing these barriers lets them simply recruit the best person for the job.
Retain talented employees
An experienced employee who has children may find they cannot work their usual hours anymore as, for example, they have to collect their children from school. Without flexible working, they’d have to change their role – or worse – leave the company which would then lose their expertise and have to hire and train a replacement.
Improves company image
Employees – especially younger people – are attracted towards companies that are forward-thinking and trust their staff. Promoting flexible working will give the company an advantage when recruiting, especially for smaller companies who are competing against larger rivals for new talent.
Allows employees to work when they feel they can perform the best
Not everyone is a morning person. Allowing employees to come and work when they feel they can do their best reduces presenteeism, with staff being fully productive when working rather than simply drifting until they “wake up”.
Contributes towards employee engagement
A CIPD survey found that employees satisfied with their work-life balance and those on flexible contracts are more engaged with their work than those who are not. Flexible working shows trust towards employees and allows them to have a say over how they do their job, which are two large contributors towards engagement.
Customer service around the clock
Employees working at times outside of the standard 9 to 5 can help customers during hours that wouldn’t normally be available to them. This is especially beneficial for help desks or customer service providers. Potential clients can also call at any time, giving flexible firms the advantage over those who are not.
Having all members of staff in the office at the same time takes up more room, requires a larger building and increases rent and overheads. Flexible working frees up desk space, encourages hot desking and so reduces costs. The reduction in staff turnover and absenteeism also saves businesses money in these areas through lower recruitment costs and higher productivity.
Improved IT systems
Having employees work from home means they’ll need access to top IT hardware and software so they can do the job to the best of their ability outside of the office. Gradually, these improvements should filter through to the rest of the business and help improve productivity.
A more diverse workplace
A mixture of different people in a workplace can make it more dynamic. Having a combination of older professionals, young graduates, and people working part-time to accommodate their family can bring lots of different approaches to solving problems and show the company as an inclusive, progressive place to work.