Talent attraction

Flexible work: The future for businesses?

For many, flexible work is becoming a growing part of their lexicon. But, regardless of your understanding, it's clear its popularity is rising, and for many companies, it is establishing itself as a critical part of their business strategy.

Flexible working styles grew in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach the end and businesses become more technologically oriented, 67% of employers plan to allow most staff to continue flexing their hours.

The article aims to explore the concept of flexible work and how this agile approach to the working day can impact your employees and business performance. We will delve deeper into:

  • What does it mean when I say flexible work
  • What has prompted a rise in demand among employees and employers for flexible work
  • And the potential benefits that implementing a flexible style of work could bring to both employees and the organization

What does flexible work mean?

Flexible work has many different faces. From flexi-time to remote work, part-time hours to a compressed schedule. But what connects these different interpretations of flexible work is that they don't fit the traditional 9-5, five-day week routine.

Flexible work allows individuals to vary the location from which they work, the number of hours they may work during a day, and start and finish times. In doing so, employees and employers can achieve a degree of flexibility unlike that of a fixed working schedule.

Having more say over one's work is a powerful attraction to employees and employers alike. It enables you to more effectively balance work responsibilities with one's personal or family needs. In addition, when one can choose when and where they work, you feel more in control of your daily life and potentially deliver better performance.

Why the rise in demand for flexible work?

Since the pandemic began, many businesses have had to rethink operating and managing their workforce. Thus prompting an intriguing debate about the future of work. Will we return to a pre-COVID office environment, or is the future perhaps a hybrid home and office solution?

Additionally, as a response to growing demands for work-life balance and the improved technological capabilities of the workforce, employers are looking to give their employees more control of their working day.

Therefore, companies are now looking to see if their work lends itself to flexible working. For example, can their employees complete their work to a high standard whilst away from the office? And can the organization adapt their processes to match the desire for flexibility?

Among workforces today, flexibility is a priority. 84% of male employees either work flexibly already or would like to. For women, this rises to 91%. Among younger workers, 92% either work flexibly or say they want to.

Whether it is because of balancing work and life responsibilities, leisure interests, the duties of care, commuting issues or the general convenience of working when it is the right time, workforces are clear in what they desire.

And for businesses, the need to listen and the ability to deliver on these wants can help them tackle a range of issues such as attracting top talent and retaining key staff.

What benefits does flexible work give to an employee?

Acquire more control over their daily life

Flexible work offers employees the opportunity to grasp more control over their lives. No longer are they tied to their desk for fixed hours each day. 

Instead, they have the freedom to move their working hours around, depending on the situation. Flexible work helps to accommodate activities that arise without missing work. In addition, it allows employees to find the time when they are at their most productive. For some, that may be in the early hours, others evenings or weekends. 

Flexible work helps employees to find the sweet spot between work and life.

Balance work and personal commitments

Flexible work allows employees to tend to their personal needs whilst also carrying out their job effectively. For example, having a newborn can take up an enormous amount of time and energy. But working flexibly means you can find the right opportunities to work.

Flexibility helps one to be more connected with those around you. For example, to have more time with your family by starting early to finish at a reasonable hour so you can pick up your kids from school or do the washing.

In doing so, you can relieve the potential stress that having too many things on your plate at once can bring and help the management of both priorities successfully.

Support well-being among the workforce

Well-being is a growing priority for businesses. And flexible work can help deliver it to the workforce. 

It provides employees with more time for exercise and the chance to eat more healthily and take better care of themselves. Alongside a reduction in commute time, these improvements can lower work-related stress and absence from work because of illness.

Less micro-management, more responsibility

Sometimes, employees can feel that their superiors are overbearing, watching them constantly like hawks. As a result, it can become hard for them to express themselves. Or to show how capable they are in fear of making mistakes.

Flexible work means employees have more responsibility for their output. Working alone or in different locations can encourage independence and problem-solving. 

Empowering your employees with more responsibility and ownership of their work can make them feel more connected to the company and highlight their importance to its success.

The benefits for businesses when they embrace flexible work

Happy workers make productive workers 

Companies can witness increased trust and improvement in the employee/employer relationship when establishing a working arrangement that considers the workforce's needs.

Flexible work offers employees more options in their day-to-day life. That can ultimately increase their job satisfaction. In addition, the knowledge that they can work as they please and are trusted to deliver can increase creativity and energy among the workforce. Thus, helping companies to improve their bottom lines and lead to significant growth.

Recruiting and retaining high-performing talent

When it comes to recruiting, there are an increasing number of candidates who seek flexible work. For example, LinkedIn reports that there has been a 60% rise in searches for 'remote work' and a 189% growth in applications rates for these types of positions.

Therefore, by moving towards a more flexible working style, your company can increase the number of potentially transformative and diverse candidates who may not have applied if flexible work wasn't possible.

The opportunity to work flexibly is a huge source of attraction to jobseekers today. To both attract and retain high-quality personnel, businesses are coming to the realization that not tying them to a particular location or pattern of working can ensure talent seeks to join and stay within their organization.

A valuable cost-saving measure

Recruitment can be expensive. The search, onboarding, purchase of new equipment, and the new hire decide to leave after a year. Thus placing you in the exact position you were in twelve months ago. So, keeping your workforce together is vital. And flexible work can support this.

If employees feel they can't work a fixed schedule because of personal circumstances, the possibility of flexibility may solve your problem. It means you aren't losing key staff and their input and can save money—both through lowering recruitment costs and in other ways.

An increase in remote workers can help save on office costs, lowering overheads such as rent, electricity, and water. Furthermore, the ability to work at the hours that suit can mean that if an employee is unwell, they can work when they feel better, reducing absenteeism and preventing any slow down in operations. 

Is flexible work the future of your business?

We can never predict the future. However, we know that there is a desire for change among businesses and employees alike. A desire for more options and opportunities to improve work-life balance whilst not affecting the performance and efficiency of a company.

And that is why a flexible working style has become such an interesting phenomenon. Flexible work offers the workforce the chance to vary their location, work where they decide, and choose the number of hours they may work during a day. This level of freedom is crucial to today's workforce and can help to attract a more diverse talent pool and create happier staff.Nevertheless, it is your decision whether flexible work is your future direction. So it's crucial that you consider your workforce's and company's ability to move towards a flexible working style and whether it can succeed. But depending on your industry and way of working, it could have a transformative impact.

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