10 fab facts about flexible working
By: Claire, redwigwam
Since the Covid-19 pandemic when we were all forced to work from home if we could, flexible working has become a ‘must have’ on job descriptions. Employees are more likely to apply for a role which is listed as flexible, so we wanted to explore the reasons why flexible working is beneficial to employers and employees alike.
(It is important though to note, flexible working does not just mean working from home. The pandemic muddied the waters here, leading many businesses to assume their roles can’t be flexible because home working isn’t possible.
But, in reality, any role can be done flexibly. We’ve listed some ways this is possible at the end of this post)
But why does flexible working work?
Flexible working opportunities can benefit everyone: employers, employees, and their families. Most businesses now recognise it makes good business sense to provide flexible working opportunities for their staff.
Here’s 10 reasons why flexible working is fab!
- It can reduce absence rates
- It’s proven to be good for managing employee’s mental health and stress
- It leads to increased productivity
- It promotes a healthy work-life balance
- You attract the best talent to your business
- Your employees have a higher level of job satisfaction
- You’ll seen an increase in your employee retention levels
- You get a better match between business resources and demand
- Flexible working increases innovation and creativity within a business
- It can lead to cost-savings and efficiencies in your business
Deep diving into the reasons why flexible working is important!
Flexible working reduces absence rates
Employees who have access to flexible work are much less likely to be absent from work on a regular basis. This is often because they can juggle appointments for them, or their dependents around their working hours.
If working from home is part of the flexible work offering, you’ll also find they are still able to work in circumstances which would otherwise keep them from work - if a child is off school due to illness for example.
Flexible working us good for managing your employee’s mental health and stress
Offering flexibility in the workplace means your employees are working in a way which best suits them – which by default leads to a reduction in stress levels.
By offering employees the ability to work hours which really suit them, employees feel their employer respects their personal lives and trusts them to get work done on their own time.
If flexible working involves working from home, employees have no commute time – and simple things – like being able to take the dog for a walk at lunch time, also contribute to a reduction in stress levels.
Flexible working leads to increased productivity
By allowing flexible working hours, you are enabling your team to work in a way which best suits them. So naturally, you get the best out of them.
Some people are early risers and at their most productive until about 3pm. So, allow them to work in those hours. Then you’ll have the later folk – people who need a slower start to the morning but are happy to work later into the evening.
Fitting with the natural rhythms of your team – and allowing them to work in a way which suits them will lead to increased productivity.
Flexible working promotes a healthy work-life balance
The elusive work-life balance! Essential for happy, healthy employees who are more productive and engaged when they are at work.
But it makes sense.
Allowing employees to start work later so they can drop the children at school, take a longer lunch break to go to the gym, or work from home and reduce commute times, you’re giving employees valuable time and reducing stress and fatigue – both of which can cause employees to lose focus and under perform.
You attract the best talent to your business
Businesses which advertise flexible roles considered more progressive and forward thinking but jobseekers. Your business will appear willing to listen to accommodate the needs and commitments of your employees.
If you limit your job openings, you immediately limit your candidate pool to people who can work the exact shifts you’re specifying or are in a set distance from a location. By opting for flexible working patterns, you’ll automatically widen this talent pool – and be way more likely to retain your brilliant new employees for much longer…
And more, if you are also able to advertise a role as remote (and we know this isn’t always possible) you’ll really open your talent pool, attracting people from locations which would not be reachable if you’re stuck on a 9-5 in head office.
Your employees have a higher level of job satisfaction
Job satisfaction is the level of contentment employees feel in their job. It looks at their satisfaction with company policies, how they are managed, and the impact of their job on their personal life.
Employees in companies who offer flexible working policies typically have a higher level of job satisfaction – meaning they are more likely to be happier, more productive and stay longer with the company.
You’ll see an increase in your employee retention levels
Ever recruited for a role, trained the person up, only for them to leave a few months later? It feels frustrating – and you’re back to square one, starting the recruitment process over again.
Businesses who offer flexible working, tend to see staff retention levels increase. The likely reason is employees who can find a happy balance between work life and their other commitments are less likely to feel the grass is greener elsewhere!
You get a better match between business resources and demand
Not all employees want to work a 9-5, and not all customers want to do business between these hours either.
(Here at redwigwam, our platform is available 24/7 to post jobs and book work. Flexible working means our chat is managed round the clock too!)
By enabling flexible working policies, you can meet customer demand, and flex up and down staffing levels as needed. Many of our hirers have a core ‘permanent’ team and then use flexible workers to staff up or down as determined by the needs of the business.
Flexible working increases innovation and creativity within a business
Ever had your best idea when you’re in the shower – or thinking about anything other than work?
By enabling flexible working – and allowing people to work when they are at their most productive you start to get the best out of them.
Flexible working can lead to cost-savings & efficiencies in your business
Whether it’s the ability to flex staffing levels up and down depending on demand by using flexible staff to support your core team, or a reduced office space by facilitating hybrid working, there are absolutely cost savings associated with the introduction of flexible working.
Did you know…
All employers have the right to ask for flexible working after they have worked for the business for at least 26 weeks. You must deal with the application in a ‘reasonable manner’ – which includes reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of the request – but you can refuse the application if there is a good business reason for doing so.
In 2022, 4.3 million employees in the UK had some level of flexi-time hours in their contract. But a significant proportion of the workforce are not being given the opportunity to work flexibly.
By being a business who is open to changing how things are done and opening flexible working for all employees to enjoy, you’ll be seen as a forward thinking, progressive business who puts the needs of their people at the centre. Now doesn’t that sound like somewhere you’d like to work?
Types of flexible working
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach here. And remember, flexible working does not mean working from home. It’s about facilitating working patterns to suit both a business and it’s employees.
Some different options offered by businesses include:
A full-time job is between 35-40 hours a week (this does vary from company to company). Part-time roles are any hours less than what your business considers full time!
Working from home / hybrid working
This is where the employee works from home, or splits their time between working from home and working from the office. This will not be suitable if the employee needs to physically be somewhere to complete their job, but is very popular for people who only need a laptop and decent internet connection to manage their day-to-day tasks.
This involves two employees doing one job and splitting the hours between them. It can be a very effective solution if you need someone in a role for specific hours – the job-sharers need excellent communication between them if tasks are shared!
This is where someone works a full-time job over fewer days, working longer hours on the days you work.
An employee would be contracted to work a certain number of hours over a year, but with flexibility as to when these hours are worked. So if you work in the hospitality industry (for example) you’d work more hours per week in November and December, but reduce down in January and February.
This is where an employee varies their start and finish time to suit them. Some businesses set ‘core hours’ where employees must be available between set times. Others allow the employees to manage this themselves.
Here at redwigwam, we find flexitime to be very successful – people are always very collaborative and make themselves available when needed – and it allows us to have cover earlier in the mornings and later in the evenings as we have team members who prefer both ends of the day!
Flexible benefits (buying / selling annual leave for example)
You don’t have to use all of these, rather consider what would work for your business and the needs of your customers.
So - are you going to take flexibility to the next level? Let's have a chat about how we could help support you. Click below to get started.