7 Reasons Why Businesses Should Promote Flexible Working
If you’re still
working 9-5, chances are you won’t have to for long. With new technology making it easier to work anywhere, anytime, the traditional 9-5 workday as we know it is effectively dead.
According to a 2018 survey by the Conference Board of Canada, more than 85 percent of Canadian organizations now offer flexible working options to employees.
Workers are also beginning to prioritize flexible working, as they have come to recognize it as the critical enabler for healthy work-life balance.
In fact, more than 80% of 3,500 employees Sage People polled globally placed importance and value on flexible and remote working. Increased control over work schedule is good for employees–happy employees lead to heightened productivity and morale, which in turn, is great for business.
Here are seven reasons why business leaders should embrace flexible working.
1. The world of work has changed
In the last few years, the line between work and personal life has become increasingly blurred. With the advent of new networking and cloud technologies, the day no longer ends when you leave your desk. These virtual communication and collaboration tools give employees easy access to work from home, with options to skip long commutes.
In today’s global economy, modern work responsibilities are more cross-functional and cross-border, requiring collaboration with co-workers across different time zones. By lifting constraints on how, where and when we work, we can help businesses adjust to this cultural shift, while allowing them to better engage and empower their employees.
2. There’s a war for talent
Many industries are facing widespread skills shortages with businesses struggling to attract and retain top talent. As such, prospective employees are now far more discerning and selective when it comes to employment opportunities. The desire for flexible working options is a deciding factor for many young professionals as they select their job or company of choice.
A recent study found that 54% of people would be willing to move jobs to gain greater flexibility. Offering flexible working options will help tremendously in attracting the best talent and help retain your workforce for longer. In today’s ultra-competitive business landscape, this could be the difference between success and failure.
3. Flexible working boosts productivity
Workforce productivity is integral to a business – but the staggering low level of productivity is becoming a global issue.
According to Sage People’s Why Your Workforce isn’t Working Report examining workforce efficiency, on average, employees typically work only 30 hours a week–which equates to less than 4 working days. This means that the average person who works a 40-hour week is only productive for 3.75 days out of the 5-day working week.
Giving employees the freedom to work in the way that best suit them can help to significantly narrow the productivity gap. Flexible working allows employees to operate more efficiently, which also enables businesses to get the most value out of their staff.
4. Flexible working empowers employees and shows trust
Today’s prospective employees are looking for more than just office perks. At the top of the list is feeling valued in the workplace.
According to the Why the Workforce isn’t Working Report, workers want to feel valued and recognized, with two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed seeing this as the most important aspect of their day-to-day working life. Offering flexible working options communicates trust and proves to employees that they’re valued members of the team. This can help to boost overall morale and empower employees to perform at their absolute best.
5. It supports employee well-being
Businesses are prioritizing the health and well-being of staff more and more in recent years, and employees are catching on as well. Over a third of employees polled (39%) believe HR and People teams could do more to improve wellness at work.
Initiatives to promote health and wellness, such as providing healthy snack options or offering subsidizing gym membership, are becoming more popular. Flexible working can be an important contributor to the health and wellness of your employees – it can help reduce stress, allow room for doctor’s appointments as well as other important aspects of employees’ lives.
6. Employees want flexible working
One of the most important reasons for businesses to embrace flexible working is simply because it is what staff value and need. According to a report from unified communications vendor, Fuze, nearly 50% of workers across all generations would like to be more mobile with work, with that number rising to 70% with those aged 16-44.
Employees want the flexibility to pick up their kids from school, start and finish early if they have international calls to wake up early for, or can head to a doctors’ appointment without impacting their workplace obligations.
7. Technology has changed
Technology has become so entwined with our daily lives that it has transformed the nature of how, when and where we can work. As a result, staff simply no longer need to be in the office to do their jobs effectively.
Tablets, smartphones and mobile networks now mean that the modern office can be wherever the employee feels most comfortable, whether that’s their living room, coffee shop, or shared co-working spaces. Cloud technology reduces the need for employees to be on-site, allowing secure access as well as improved collaboration on documents at a global scale.
Enabling flexible working should be a focus for all businesses. A flexible workforce can positively impact a business’ bottom-line in both the long-term and short-term, improve talent retention, and help create better workplace experiences for staff - something 92% of survey respondents value.
At the end of the day, with the pace of business increasing and competition fierce, businesses need every advantage they can get. A flexible workplace will result in a happier, healthier, more engaged and productive workforce, which makes for a happier and healthier business.