Did you know that businesses that provide flexible working are more likely to attract top talent and retain existing personnel? In today’s competitive employment market, it’s a fact you don’t want to ignore.
Here we take a look at the value of flexibility in 2023 and how it may help companies stay at the top of their game.
What exactly is flexible working?
Flexible working is a broad term that covers different ways of working. But essentially, flexible working means giving employees the opportunity to shift their working hours or location of work to better meet their personal and professional demands.
Flexible working might not necessarily be formalised. It can be an informal approach that allows people to take a longer lunchtime gym class, nip out to a dentist appointment, or take their dog to the vet. All with the understanding that they’ll make up the time when it best suits them.
As Sir Richard Branson puts it:
“First and foremost, I believe in flexible working. It is important that employers appreciate their employees’ work-life balance and give them the flexibility to work around their personal lives.”
Why is flexibility important?
It’s what candidates want. A survey from LiveCareer found that around 30% of all respondents identified flexible working as one of the most important work benefits, and that rose to 38% for millennials.
And why wouldn’t we want flexibility in the way we work? The pandemic propelled us into a world of remote working and showed us there can be fluidity in the hours we work. So why would candidates want to lose all the benefits that flexible working brings?
- Increases job satisfaction: According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, flexible workers have a higher level of job satisfaction and commitment, and are more likely be engaged in their work.
- Increases productivity and motivation: Workers with greater control over their schedules are frequently more productive and motivated – which benefits the organisation as a whole. This is backed up by the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, which found 43% of respondents were more productive because of flexible working hours.
Increases well-being: Many candidates want employment that not only provides better balance but can be fine-tuned to best suit them as individuals. A better work/life balance can help people feel happier, healthier, less stressed and more motivated.
- Saves employees time and money: Long gone is the assumption that people will take a lengthy commute to work each and every day. That means employees not only potentially save considerable money, but also gain that most precious of commodities: time.
How can businesses provide flexibility?
There are a number of ways to do this, with the best ways being those most requested by existing teams. That might include:
- Flexible schedules: Allowing employees to shape their own working hours means they’ll be able to find a work/life balance that best works for them. That might look different for each person. Some might want to work different work patterns, like a nine-day fortnight or work five days within four. Or it might be a less formal approach, in that people can nip off to do the school run, then make up the time later. All that can mean happier employees, less stress and more productivity.
- Remote or hybrid working: If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that people don’t need to physically work in an office to produce great results. FlexJobs’ Career Pulse Survey found that 65% of respondents want to work remotely full-time, while 32% want a hybrid work environment. In fact, 57% said they would look for a new job if they couldn’t continue to work remotely. So when recruiting, highlighting remote working will help to attract strong candidates.
- Job sharing: This is when two or more employees share one full-time role. And it doesn’t only benefit employees who don’t want to work the traditional Monday to Friday. One study found that a job share partnership brings an increase of up to 30% in productivity – through the extra energy and focus that employees bring.
The future looks flexible
Offering flexible working will soon become essential, rather than optional – that’s if companies are to stay competitive and attract the best candidates. After all, it’s what employees are asking for and the benefits for everyone are too good to ignore.