Flexible Working: A Real Advantage for Your Business
Sometimes it can feel like our work-life balance is a bit out of sync. Flexible working may not only benefit the employee, but the employer as well…
In the post-pandemic world, a good work-life balance has become increasingly important to employees with flexible working hours often outranking pay rises on employee’s wish lists. Unsurprisingly, as the modern world becomes more demanding, a strong work/life balance is becoming all the more important in promoting overall happiness and well-being.
It is becoming more convenient to work anywhere, anytime, 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 ‘always on’ generation, 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 can possibly 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 behaviour 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 in the post-pandemic world that flexible and agile working practices have continued to be implemented leading to a better work-life balance.
Flexible working hours, implemented with care, have the potential to dramatically benefit businesses, with the added bonus of significantly boosting employee satisfaction and retention.