Sometimes it can feel like our work-life balance is a bit out of sync. VANRATH HR has discovered that flexible working hours may not only benefit the employee, but the employer as well…
An emerging trend has revealed that flexible working hours are increasingly outranking pay rises on employee’s wish-lists; unsurprisingly, as the modern world becomes increasingly demanding, a strong work/life balance is becoming all the more important in promoting overall happiness and well being.
With the emergence of portable devices, it is becoming more convenient to work anywhere, anytime, and research suggests that enabling and encouraging these working arrangements could potentially yield cost savings in terms of staff salaries and business overheads.
Moreover, flexible working cuts down on travel time and boosts staff morale, in turn contributing to higher employee engagement and retention.
As our lives become increasingly busy, there is a demand for employers to adopt responsive, agile working arrangements to take advantage of these new working practices.
The ‘Always - On’ Generation
The technological renaissance we are living through, coupled with the rise of flexible working hours does come with a risk: the concern that individuals can’t switch off from their working lives.
We take our emails wherever we go: we can effectively conduct our business anywhere, from our bed to the beach. With this advantage comes heightened expectations that we are always readily contactable by colleagues and clients.
This has the potential to lead to unforeseen health problems and has potential to impact on performance and productivity. So, how can employers enable and encourage flexible working without creating an “always-on” culture?
This can be achieved in a number of ways:
Transparency regarding expectations. This can start with a mobile/flexible working policy, which should focus on outputs and outcomes, rather than being present in the office and hours worked. A one-size-fits-all approach is not suitable, because all organisations need to be flexible and adapt to their business needs, but workers still need more clarity about what is expected of them in terms of mobile contact and availability.
Monitoring and Educating Employees. It’s important to note the behavior of those employees on flexible working hours, and to make them aware of the problems created by excessive use of mobile technology. This can be achieved by creating information materials and training to educate workers on the potential risks of never switching off and ways to mitigate them, including speaking to HR or occupational health if they are feeling anxious or stressed as a result of work.
Leading by example.Executive management and senior staff should demonstrate their own approach to flexible working and wellbeing: does that email really need to be sent at 11pm, or can it wait? This should enable a change in the working culture from the top down, and demonstrate that the organisation trusts employees to manage their own time and work output.
It is clear that flexible and agile working practices need to be implemented to adapt
Flexible working hours, implemented with care, have the potential to dramatically benefit businesses, with the added bonus of dramatically boosting employee satisfaction and retention.
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