The flexible working revolution has arrived heres why business need to adapt – HR News

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 8:53 am


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Posted on Oct 18, 2019

Nic Redfern, Finance Director, KnowYourMoney.co.uk

The traditional workplaceculture today is a far cry from what it was even a decade ago. Arguably, one ofthe most significant shifts that has taken place is workers changing attitudestowards flexible working.

Flexible working is anarrangement whereby workers enjoy more freedoms in terms of how long, where, andwhen they work. There are plenty of reasons why this has become an attractiveproposition, be it reducing the number of hours spent commuting between homeand the workplace, to fitting work around ones personal and familycommitments. And importantly, the option to work from home one or two days aweek, or to shift working hours to better fit a personal schedule, has become akey consideration for people when exploring their job options.

With the world of workchanging, this presents an opportunity for businesses to better support theneeds of their workers. So how can companies adapt to this trend and makeflexible working work better for both employees and their employers?

How strong is the allure of flexible working?

To uncover professionals attitudes towards flexible working, Know Your Money recently conducted a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults in full-time or part-time employment, which explored some of the major changes that are shaping the future of work.

The standout takeaway fromthe research is that employees are seeking greater control over certain aspectsof their working lives even if it means making certain sacrifices. Almosthalf (49%) of the people we surveyed said they would be in favour of a four-dayworking week, even if it meant they would have to take a 20% pay cut. Three-quarters(75%) would also be in favour of a shortened working week if they still had tocomplete their current number of weekly working hours in fewer days.

Meanwhile, just over 70% ofUK employees consider flexible working (in terms of hours and location) as veryimportant to their overall job satisfaction, with women placing a higheremphasis on this than men. What these findings ultimately show is that workersfeel their employers have not yet caught up with the flexible working trend,despite strong inroads being made in recent years to promote change.

Why should businesses take flexible working seriously?

Businesses seeking to acquire,and retain, top talent must consider how they can offer a more supportiveworkplace environment. Indeed, most employees will have commitments outside ofthe world of work from childcare to looking after elderly relatives, or evensimply pursuing other interests which cannot always fit around thetraditional 9 to 5 schedule.

The business case forflexible working has also been demonstrated time and time again. The CharteredInstitute for Personal Development (CIPD), for instance, recently releasedguidance on flexible working, noting that in many cases it has led toimprovements in motivation, creativity, mental wellbeing and productivity levels.

How can businesses support the needs of theiremployees?

First and foremost, itsimportant to be open-minded to the mutual benefits linked with flexible workingpatterns, while also acknowledging the logistical barriers that exist within anorganisation which might prevent employers being able to seek out flexiblearrangements. The responsibility has now shifted onto employers to offerflexible working options and ensure that the people they employ arewell-equipped to carry on their activities regardless of when or where they areworking. Of course, implementing such change will differ based on profession.

Its difficult to talk aboutflexible working without also recognising the important role that technologyplays in enabling remote working. Smartphones, tablets and laptops with accessto online data storage, shared file services, emails and electronic resourcesnow mean that a significant majority of office-based tasks can be completedalmost anywhere so long as an internet connection is to hand.

As more and more workers demandwork flexibility, its essential that companies invest to ensure they have theonline systems in place for their employees to operate outside the remit of theoffice. This isnt limited to physical devices, but also extends to softwaresolutions like Slack which enable connectivity allowing employees tocommunicate effectively and share data as and when they need to.

Ultimately, the main goal of flexible working is to help employees achieve a better work-life balance. And theres no denying that this is becoming a priority for many of the countrys workers. As demonstrated from the Know Your Money research, workers are open to flexible working arrangements that strike the right balance between required hours in the office and the opportunity for remote working.

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The flexible working revolution has arrived heres why business need to adapt - HR News

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October 20th, 2019 at 8:53 am