At Simply-docs we are great fans of flexible working. Core to our business is our Content Team, who draft and update our document portfolio and related information. Our flexible working patterns combine part-time work and homeworking, allowing for the employees’ home locations, their childcare needs and their other interests. This has enabled us to recruit and retain a talented team of experienced solicitors and other professionals. By offering flexible working, small businesses can attract high quality employees in a cost effective manner, where the affordabilty of such a rich resource of talent becomes apparent not only through their efficiency, knowledge and experience but also the improved levels of productivity associated with such work patterns.
Reduction in travel time and costs, and reduction of office and infrastructure costs also contribute, but the main winner for us is productivity and the security of knowing that we can sustain our workflow of new and updated documents. The Content Team, all of whom are employed applying a flexible working profile to suit each individual, each have responsibility for different parts of the document portfolio, but work together to check each others’ work and share intellectual input. Trust levels between employer and employees are extremely high and, accordingly, generate great staff morale. They are able to maintain an improved life/work balance and make better use of their time with less stress. They are focused and motivated, responding favourably to the additional responsibilities that derive from working away from the office or having flexible working hours in the office.
BT, for instance, have found that home workers are 20% more productive than their office based colleagues, and that, though absenteeism could be expected to be higher for homeworkers than office based workers , absenteeism amongst home workers is 63% lower than office based colleagues. Their return to work figures for flexible workers post maternity leave are 93% compared to a UK averagge of 47%. Whilst we cannot be so specific with our productivity statistics, it is clear that our workflow and content targets are consistently maintained and improved, and that our support services and response time to customers’ queries are enhanced by our flexible working patterns.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2012 Survey found that the top 5 benefits of flexible working were:
– improved employee retention,
– greater staff motivation,
– improved employee engagement,
– better recruitment,
– and increased productivity.
These 5 benefits are inter-related and their contribution will differ for each business. For some businesses part-time work may be possible but homeworking non-applicable. At Simply-docs the mix is simple – Flexible working first enabled us to improve our selection for recruitment, and then improve retention with greater staff motivation and employee engagement, all of which has delivered increased productivity.
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