According to recent statistics, the number of people in highly paid jobs who are offered part-time or flexible hours has trebled over the past four years. Whilst this is an incredibly positive advancement, there is still work to be done in ensuring a healthy work-life balance across the board.
With the World Health Organization classifying workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon this year, it’s clear that workplace wellbeing is very much at the top of the agenda. So, companies must now look to expand this perk to all levels of the workforce in order to spread the positive impact that comes along with it.
Flexible working can be implemented in various ways and to varying extents, from allowing your employees to work remotely a few days a week, to introducing more general, gradual flexibility into their schedules over the next few months.
1. Reduced company carbon footprint
Company-wide flexibility and remote working alternatives will naturally result in a reduced company carbon footprint. First and foremost, fewer people would be travelling to and from the office daily, instantly decreasing the company carbon output. As well as this, with fewer people in the office, far less electronic equipment would be used each day, reducing your reliance on energy and lessening the strain on the company’s finances simultaneously.
Recent research from TopLine Film claims that employees nowadays demand that employers commit to better environmental policies, with 73 per cent of office workers wanting their workplace to improve its sustainability policy. Therefore, reducing your carbon footprint will ensure that your company is doing its bit for the environment, but it can also act as a huge draw to attract environmentally conscious future employees.
2. Increased productivity
The outdated view that remote workers don’t work as hard as those based in the office is finally being kicked to the curb. A recent survey ousted these preconceptions, revealing that flexible workers in fact put in an average of 6.7 hours each week more than they do when they were in the office. When combined with the right work ethic and time management skills, there can be fewer distractions when working at home and the vast majority of flexible employees are more determined to show their worth when responsible for their own output.
They have the ability to focus on personal priorities when necessary and make up for the time lost whenever they can. These flexible opportunities not only help employees in balancing their personal and professional life, such as childcare and other commitments at home, but also allow for a healthier lifestyle and increased efficiency at the same time.
3. Company cohesion
When every member of staff is treated in the same way, with equal respect and equal flexible working opportunities, the workplace dynamic changes for the better. A sense of togetherness and trust will inevitably ensue, reducing the risk of internal politics affecting office dynamics and productivity.
When flexible working is implemented effectively, staff instinctively communicate virtually through the latest technology tools and consciously manage themselves more appropriately. Employees feel empowered as they gain control of their timetable and workload and they become more conscious about making their virtual team as productive and successful as possible.
4. A flexible workforce is a happy workforce
Offering the option of working remotely, whether it be once a week, or a few times a month, shows that you trust your employees, strengthening your relationship with them and improving employee loyalty and retention.
By fostering more long-term commitment from your employees, you build a more cohesive company culture and reduce the costs associated with regularly recruiting and training new employees. Offering flexibility also means that you are not limiting your talent pool in the recruitment process. Mothers, fathers, carers and those who live further away from the office will still be incentivised to apply for a role at your company, often swaying their opinion more than the pay packages does.
In fact, our own research reveals that 82 per cent of disgruntled fathers reported that they felt their work schedule prevented them from carrying out desired childcare duties. The modern-day employee is now more likely to prioritise companies that offer flexible working hours, as opposed to ones that don’t. Allowing all your workforce to finish early once a week for example, will not only facilitate working parents, but also alleviate any other personal pressures and inevitably make your company a more appealing place to work.
What is clear is that businesses stand to benefit just as much as their employees do from embracing flexible working alternatives across the board. Over the last few years, there has been an evident cultural shift, with more traditional industries finally embracing flexibility and embedding it more widely.
In the UK, we work some of the longest hours in the world and yet our productivity often lags behind, with productivity, rising by just 2.2 per cent since 2010, less than a third the rate seen in Germany (The World Economic Forum). Despite this, with more employers embracing flexibility for all employees, we are finally starting to see happier, productive and loyal workforces across the board.
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