Why People need Flexible Working Options

Written by Shameem Allen from KFS Recruitment

If we have been taught anything in the past few years, it would be the importance of time. We have lived through global lockdowns and adapted continuously to meet the needs of our work and home lives. But now as we enter the next phase of a post-pandemic world, we can see that the evolution in the way we work has begun to go backwards.

More and more businesses are calling people back into the office without any justifiable reasons aside from the fact that they say so. It can be said that after decades of the 9-5 some employers find it hard to change.

So why do we need flexibility in the workplace? 

First and foremost, it offers employees a better work-life balance. No one wants to feel like they are at work all the time with little space for much else.

Companies are seeing more and more people quit their jobs over lack of flexibility knowing full well that their jobs can be completed on a more flexible schedule having done it throughout the pandemic.

Often flexible working is generalised as one fits all, but this shouldn’t be the case. Employers should work closely with their employees to create a bespoke set of arrangements for their individual needs. This not only satisfies the employee’s need to be heard and understood – leading to a happier more motivated worker- it also allows the employer to have a more varied workforce.

More freedom increases employee happiness which in turn leads to better employee retention and efficiency. A study by Warwick University has said that happiness in the workplace makes employees 12% more productive.

What needs to be considered?

The focus should start with where work can be completed and when. This is the best starting point when discussions begin. Most people want working arrangements that give them more time to spend with family and be at home – they may want to prioritise mental health and balance.

Remote and hybrid working options are becoming more and more in demand to give the most flexibility. Hours are the next thing on the agenda – if work can be completed more freely than the usual 9-5 – employees can then have the freedom to go to the school play for example without sacrificing work. Remote and hybrid work also removes the commute from the equation allowing workers to start earlier or finish later if they wish.

Of course, this can be a disadvantage too. It is therefore best to be mindful of how and when you work ensuring you establish a clear start and end to your day to prevent over and underworking.

Advantages for the employee 

Job satisfaction – employees feel looked after knowing they can comfortably work and balance their homelives more equally.

Increased productivity – making employees happy and allowing them to work with more autonomy leads to a more productive workforce. According to the Office of National Statistics, 52% of people asked reported that they worked quicker when working hybrid or remotely as they had fewer distractions contrary to popular belief.

Advantages for Employers 

It appears some employers are still reluctant to offer a flexible approach to working now that the pandemic is over however there are many advantages for the employer to consider.

Better Service – with a flexible approach to when people work and the hours they do, companies can provide a more comprehensive service covering more hours in the day than the usual core times.

Savings – With fewer people in the office at one time, companies can save on office space by utilising hot desks etc. This could include (but is not limited to) hybrid and remote working, condensed work weeks and job sharing.

Higher retention and lower absences – as mentioned before when staff are happy and engaged, they are more committed to their role. This means that people are less likely to leave their roles. Additionally, flexibility improves emotional and physical well-being allowing employees to manage their health more effectively. This results in less stress and sickness which can reduce the absence substantially.

To Wrap Up 

Despite the best intentions more businesses need to take another look at flexible working as a contractual standard. It will attract talented employees and allow them to hold on to the ones they already have.