Is your business open to flexible working?
Britain has been stuck in the 9-5 rut for decades but that could be changing with more and more workers in favour of flexible working hours.
A study conducted by You Gov and McDonalds, yes, the hamburger people, has revealed more and more employees want a more flexible working pattern.
For the majority of the 4,000 surveyed (a sizeable number for a survey), 57 per cent said they wanted to start and end the day earlier, almost half will work longer days for a shorter working week, while two thirds said they would be more inclined to stay with an employer that offered flexible working.
The topic of flexible working is even being looked at by the UK government which has set up a ‘Flexible Working Task Force’. It met for the first time in March with the aim to ‘promote wider understanding and implementation of inclusive flexible work and working practices’.
Task Force co-chair Peter Cheese, who is also the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, gave his views on the survey’s findings.
He told The Independent: “Flexible working is a growing preference for lots of people and provides opportunities to work for so many who have other commitments or constraints that make it hard for them to work traditional working patterns.”
I know, anecdotally, of someone who has worked with a ‘rigid’ employer where even lunchtimes were cast in stone and the HR department insisted that one hour was taken between 1pm and 2pm. The lack of flexibility caused significant hardship and the strictly enforced regime did not engender high staff morale.
Interestingly, the next place of employment they went to couldn’t have been more different. There were core hours of 10am to 2pm, when they needed to be in the workplace. Outside of that, they could come in early, work late, take 15 or 90-minute lunches, there were no real issues as long as the contracted hours were done.
The upshot here was many of the employees would come in early throughout the week and come 2pm on Friday – they were out the door. But it created a buzzing workplace and delivered better productivity.
So, how should employers be tackling this issue and how can they look to benefit from delivering greater flexibility to their workforce?
Well, Cheese, summed this up perfectly ahead of the Task Force’s first meeting.
“Flexible working is key to unlocking employment and progression opportunities across many under-represented groups in the labour market.
“It can also play a crucial role in an organisation’s performance through enabling better work-life balance, improving employee engagement and retention and key outcomes including productivity and delivering more flexible service to customers.
“Despite this, uptake has remained low over the last few years.”
There are various ways to look at flexible working this could include part-time workers, job sharing, employees working from home, term-time working, introducing core hours and of course having 100 per cent flexi-time.
It can bring several benefits to the business such as productivity, greater engagement and staff retention as was highlighted by Peter Cheese.
But in addition to these, there are other advantages:
- Content staff become great ambassadors
- Potential to generate new business
- Help with attracting new recruits
- Financially enhance your company by reducing overheads
- Promote your business amongst customers and in the wider business community
Yes, there will be difficulties as there always is with change, and it may look daunting, but it is worth investigating.
We work with several companies that have flexible working patterns and benefit from hiring staff on temporary or part-time basis to make it work. If you want to know more get in touch.