Big names like Virgin and Netflix have made the headlines recently, with trailblazing flexible working policies. Richard Branson followed in the footsteps of the major media streaming company earlier this year, allowing staff as much holiday as they feel they can take in line with professional responsibilities.
Back in the UK, the Government is increasingly supporting flexible working, putting the right to ask for a flexible arrangement into law this year. Employers will be obliged to consider such requests, and provide reasonable explanations if they decline them.
With such a buzz in the media surrounding professional flexibility, you might have considered bringing it into your own workplace. So, let’s take a look at five undeniable benefits of flexible working.
1. Talent attraction
One of the biggest benefits of flexible working is the ability to allure the cream of the crop.
Applicants are looking for more than a comfortable salary when comparing roles. More and more companies are offering enticing perks, like free gadgets, paid lunches, and half days on Fridays, so beat the competition by offering prospective employees the freedom to organise their own time.
With vacancies constantly popping up on the growing list of job sites, and applications just a click away, it’s tempting for staff to be on the lookout for new opportunities.
Avoid your best employees finding offers more appealing than yours by giving them a level of flexibility that shows them just how valued they are.
Flexibility not only demonstrates trust in your staff, but it makes it easier for employees to maintain their roles around other commitments. Many people, such as carers, parents of young children, and those studying towards qualifications, find it difficult to balance other responsibilities around full-time work. A flexible arrangement could enable them to meet personal demands at the same time as fulfilling their professional duties.
How to engage your team members
Enter your details to watch the webinar with leadership expert Nigel Girling
Keeping staff on the ball is one of the clearest benefits of flexible working. It can be difficult to keep people motivated at work, and a set routine over which they have no control can only make this worse.
Allowing staff to work in different places, at different times, and in different ways, prevents working routines from becoming stale, keeping staff invigorated.
Employees are also more likely to be engaged when they feel they’ve got the trust of their employer. There’s nothing worse for engagement at work than feeling like a child being babysat, rather than a professional contributing to a team. Value employees not for the number of hours they put in, but for the results they achieve.
4. Business opportunities
Flexible working doesn’t have to be a case of give and take. In businesses that would benefit from operating in different places at different times, it can be a win win situation.
Having an employee working evenings instead of mornings might give you the edge over competitors who close at 5 o’clock each day, allowing you to take calls or meet with clients when others can’t.
An employee who lives close to a client could prevent them from having to come to you, making it easier to offer great customer service.
5. Saving on costs
Flexible working can also be more of a benefit than a hindrance to you in terms of saving money.
Having staff working from home means that you would be spending less on equipment and electricity. It could even result in the opportunity to downsize your office space, allowing you to significantly reduce rent costs.
Some employers might see the growing pressure to offer flexibility as a threat to the way their business works. But it doesn’t mean allowing employees to do whatever they please, which isn’t feasible. Flexible working could involve as little as offering discussions about flexible working options, so that solutions that work for everyone can be found.
Offering employees just the right amount of flexibility is part of being a great leader. To find out more about advancing your leadership and management skills, get in touch below.