As part of our series on tips for candidates, we’ve written about why flexible working is so important. Employees want a work/life balance. They want flexible hours, and they want to be able to work from home.
That’s why we’ve told them that they should look for companies that offer flexible working plans. That alone should make you think – that as a company in the digital space, we should be more flexible with the hours and working life that we ask for. If the best candidates want flexible work, and we want the best candidates, we ought to offer it.
We’ve listed below some important reasons why flexible working is good for your organisation. We’ve also outlined some of the ways in which you can implement a flexible working regime.
It boosts productivity
Ultimately, improving life for your employees should also improve life for your company. There’s a lot of research out there which says that offering more flexible schedules – moving away from the 9-5, essentially – improves your workforce’s productivity.
Business Insider quotes Ron Friedman, social psychologist and author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, as saying:
“We have decades of studies showing that people are happier, healthier, and more productive when they feel autonomous. The more autonomous we feel, the more likely we are to be engaged.”
Hiring and retention
We’ve already noted that employees want flexible working. But how does this manifest itself? Well, research shows that it has an effect on both ends. Companies that offer flexible working are able to recruit better talent. Given that it is a consideration of prospective employees that features quite high up their list of wants.
And it also improves retention. A Staples study found that two thirds of employees would consider leaving if hours weren’t flexible enough. Other research found that companies offering flexible working keep their staff for much longer, too.
Healthier and happier
Focussing again on how happier employees means more profitable business, it’s worth noting that health issues, which often come as a result of over-long hours and stress due to lack of flexibility, costs businesses millions. Not only that, but boosting employee morale will boost the company’s bottom line.
How to do it
Like so many other examples of establishing change within an organisation, it starts at the top. As HR News says:
“if those in more senior roles are not modelling a new way of working, then employees will have a tough time getting to grips with it themselves”.
“These workers won’t just struggle with the practical aspects of flexible working either. They may also think that uptake is actually looked at unfavourably by their employer. In order to avoid assumptions like these, employees need to be assured that these initiatives are there to be used, not there to be simply spoken about”.
There are other, more practical considerations as well. Technology needs to be tight, with resources available to allow people to work from home, without it canceling out any productivity gains. Employees working from outside company networks will also add cybersecurity concerns.
It’s also important to have guidelines in place laying out the practicalities. How should your staff say that they would like to work from home, and in what timeframe? What core hours must they do? Setting out guidelines clearly in advance will help smooth out the process.
Things are changing – more companies are offering flexible work, and if you don’t change too, you could be left behind. As technology and the workforce moves away from the 9-5, you might find yourself missing out on the best talent unless you become more flexible.