Whether you like it or not, flexible working is now a ‘thing’. Employees like it for obvious reasons, but employers are less sure (for equally obvious reasons).
So, while various research studies suggest that over 90% of Millennials put flexible working near the top of their list of things they look for in a job, the percentage of companies that offer this benefit to their staff is still lagging way behind this figure. That would suggest many unenlightened employers are missing out.
Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at the key benefits for both parties, starting with the employee:
Benefits for employees
- Better work-life balance
Most of us live more complex lives than our parents or grandparents did when they were our age, and we can end up being dragged in so many different directions. Getting the kids off to school, taking the dog to the vet or doing an evening course at the local college can all cause problems when combined with a 9-5 job. Flexible working allows you to mould your job to suit all the other things that are important in your life. And who wouldn’t want that?
- Feel more valued
You’ll be amazed at the emotional and psychological boost you receive when you’re given a little extra freedom and trust. It’s certainly an empowering feeling and the reduction in stress that comes with that sense of independence will have positive benefits for your mental and physical health.
The anxiety of trying to combine a busy job with a busy life certainly becomes easier to manage when it’s not just the ‘life’ part of the equation that is compromised.
- Be happier in your job
Genuine job satisfaction can be hard to find. An IBM survey of 42,000 employees in 79 countries revealed that the chance of a better work-life, supported by flexible working hours, is second only to money as a reason for leaving a company. As a result of the survey, IBM has introduced more flexibility in working routines and now benefits from improved employee retention.
We’ll address improved staff retention in a little more detail when we list the benefits of flexible working for the employer, but if an employee is content to stay where they are, then we can safely assume they’re happier in their work. That’s obviously good news for them too.
Benefits for employers
- Improved staff retention
Having just read how much employees can benefit from flexible working hours, it’s easy to understand how this modern approach can enhance staff retention.
In a survey by AstraZeneca, around 80% of Accentureemployees maintained that the opportunity to have a better work-life balance increased their desire to stay at the company.
The fact is, if you’re an employer and you don’t offer any kind of flexibility in working patterns for your staff, then you’re likely to be losing your best people and potential new recruits to companies that do.
- Have more talent to choose from
Due to other commitments, some of the most talented candidates out there can only apply for positions that offer flexible working arrangements. If your company gets with the programme, then you’ll find that an increasing number of candidates will be applying to join you. This gives you more choice and more chance of finding the most suitable candidate for your vacant positions.
- Helps you serve international markets
Your business may well be buying and selling across the globe. Flexible working makes it possible for you to keep your international customers happy with extended opening hours. This can help you win and retain clients that might otherwise be tempted to move their business to a company that operates working hours more closely aligned to their own.
- A cheap benefit
Let’s face it, business is business and the bottom line is a top priority for most companies. The great thing about flexible working hours is that it’s a low-value perk to introduce. You’re still paying for the same number of hours, they’re just not all crammed into the same part of the day.
- Increased productivity
We’ve saved the best till last. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests happier employees are more productive. It makes sense that if you’re not worried about juggling your other commitments when you’re at work, then you’re going to be able to focus better in the office (or wherever you happen to do your job).
So, not only will you improve your customer retention, have more candidates to choose from for your vacancies and be able to service international markets better, you’ll also benefit from a motivated, happier and more productive team. What’s not to like?
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