Updated: May 17
Most organisations these days pride themselves on being “agile”, responding to customer needs as and when they arise. Flexibility is now seen as a core business principle. It’s not just with your clients that flexibility pays off though, your employees need it too. In one study, 96% of employees reported wanting more flexibility in the workplace, and the data showed that employers who meet this demand have better staff retention, engagement and diversity, and are more likely to turn employees into staunch advocates for the company.
The growing need for flexibility comes from a couple of factors, the changing nature of work, and changes to the nature of family and social life. In many industries, work is no longer a nine-to-five affair. Employees are often willing to adapt to this environment, answering work emails or taking client calls from their mobile phones in the evenings and at weekends. They, reasonably, expect that such flexibility will be a two way street.
At the same time the demands of work-life balance have shifted over the past several decades. A move towards mothers working, alongside an expectation for greater involvement from fathers in their children’s activities, means that working parents face growing demands on their time. Alongside these changes, recent years have seen a growth in the number of people needing to care for an elderly parent or relative.
Access to flexible ways of working makes employees a lot more satisfied with their working life. Fifty percent of employees who report a lack of flexibility say that they would accept a new job offer if that flexibility was part of the package. Firms that allow more variation from routine also find that their employees are more likely to promote the company’s product or service in their everyday and online lives. Essentially, employees that feel value will speak well of their employer.
Another major benefit of flexible workplaces is a boost in productivity. This stems largely from an improvement in employees’ wellbeing. Healthy, rested team members are better placed to be productive. Allowing variance in the way work is structured helps your staff to maintain a positive work-life balance, making them more likely to enjoy their work, stay at your company longer and to be more productive.
Find the Flex That’s Right For You
There are various ways to allow your employees flexibility in their work. Not all of them will suit every workplace, and you may have your own ways of doing it that work better for your company, but it is worth exploring the options. Some (non-exhaustive) examples include:
Flexitime – This is one of the better known methods of flexible working, and works best for office based and administrative roles, where completing the work is more important than doing it at specific times. Employees have the option to complete their required hours flexibly, within agreed parameters. Most employers offering flexitime will have “core hours” when all staff should be working (e.g. between 10am and 2pm) and many limit the earliest and latest that employees can work in any day. Staff can use the flexibility provided to avoid congested commutes, or to share school run requirements with a partner.
Location flexibility – This can take various forms, from allowing employees to work from home on one or more days a week, to allowing staff to switch which of your sites they work at. LeaveWizard users can have their staff “book in” to sites, to help keep track of this sort of working.
Part-time working and job-share – This approach allows employees to work part-time hours, even if that means sharing a full-time role between two or more employees. It is especially prized by those who have caring responsibilities, either for children or for adult relatives, as well as younger staff who are working alongside their education. For the employer it allows you to hold on to valuable experienced staff who might otherwise leave to look after their child, while the job-share aspect ensures that the role is not left incomplete.
Whatever form of flexibility you find works best for your company and your team, it is clear that adapting to meet your staff’s needs can help the performance of the whole firm.
With LeaveWizard flexibility needn’t add to the administration of annual leave. Our customisable online annual leave and absence management system can be tailored to fit the working patterns and rules you put in place, so that managing holidays stays seamless. Take a tour of LeaveWizard and register for a free trial by clicking here.