Flexible working is an increasingly popular trend, fuelled by changing social dynamics and the ability for many professionals to carry out their work from virtually any location with a Wi-Fi signal. It refers both to flexible patterns of work as well as to the choice of working remotely from home or elsewhere.
Flexible working is an attractive prospect for many employees who are parents with young children or have other caring responsibilities. Employers need to reasonably consider all requests for flexible working.
So what’s in it for your business? Isn’t it better to have your staff all in one place, somewhere you can manage them? Recent studies suggest not. Flexible working isn’t just about creating a pleasant atmosphere for your workers, or moving away from micro-management and presenteeism. In fact, you may well find that flexible working increases profitability in a number of ways:
Reduce Your Costs
A study by Vodafone UK has revealed that implementing flexible working could save UK businesses £34 billion. For example, hot-desking, where workers on different shifts share desks to maximise use of office space, can reduce rental costs. Businesses can save not only by renting less square footage but also in paying less for heating and lighting.
Improve Productivity and Customer Service
As there’s no commute involved for homeworkers, employees could potentially be available to work earlier or later. A study by IBM into their own alternative workplace programme revealed 87% of employees believed their productivity and effectiveness had improved since they started working from home.
However, employers must ensure homeworkers have an adequate and safe working space. For instance, implementing robust health and safety policies can avoid many problems which could otherwise be very costly in the long run.
Attract Better Quality Candidates for Jobs
The benefits of allowing flexibility at work means that a wider range of people are able to apply for positions – including parents who need time to look after young children or semi-retired workers. Consequently, your business could gain an advantage by being able to select candidates with as wide a skill set as possible. Accessibility to a wider pool of potential employees can give your business the edge and ensure that the best candidates don’t end up working for a competitor.
Improve Staff Loyalty
Flexible working boosts morale and reduces the risk of stress and burnout. A happier workforce is less likely to have a high turnover of staff and all the associated costs. On the other hand, failure to offer flexible working arrangements may also mean that employees take their skills and experience to a rival company with a more flexible approach.
Acas notes that “New technology has … accelerated the opportunities for people to work from home and to stay in touch with colleagues and the emergence of a … ‘4G’ workforce has provided an extra dimension to the need for flexibility.” As the technology revolution gathers pace, it may be time to consider introducing or formalising flexible working policies to future-proof your organisation.
Simply-Docs has a wide selection of ready-to-use document templates to help small businesses implement flexible working while reducing costs – including contract amendments, and flexible and home working documents. To talk more about how we can help your business manage a more flexible approach to working, simply contact our friendly team today