A recent survey of 1800 workers found 9 out of 10 workers in the UK are not working the standard 9-5 week. Additionally, 6 out of 10 of workers would choose to work earlier than 9am if it meant they could leave earlier than 5pm.
These findings highlight the growing demand for flexible working across a range of industries. In a world where we can be seamlessly connected wherever we go, there are few limits to when and where employees work.
This growing trend of flexibility has a core focus of employee wellbeing and work-life balance. A focus which is evident in countries like Sweden, where 6-hour days were trialled to encourage a healthier and happier workforce. And in France, where employees have a ‘right to disconnect’. This deal signed between employers’ federations and unions enables workers to switch off their phones, and receive no pressure to check their emails out of their working hours.
So, what are the benefits of flexible working?
Flexible Working Benefits
With options including compressed hours, annualised hours, remote working, job sharing and staggered hours, the choices themselves deliver great flexibility to both employers and employees.
Benefits For Employees
- More Quality Time with Family
Working a 9-5 day away from home is one of the biggest downsides when it comes to family life. Employees leave the house early, come home late and often spend more time with their colleagues than their loved ones. Particularly for those who are parents, it can be a struggle to spend quality time with children, as before you know it, it’s bed time. An even more frustrating part for some employees is the time lost with commuting. If employees have to commute into big cities daily, it can take away even more precious time with their loved ones.
By working from home or commuting outside of rush hour, a huge amount of time can be saved, leaving employees more time to spend with their families.
- More Cost-Effective
It’s not only time that commuting flits away, it’s money too. Commuting can be a huge additional cost for employees, no matter if it’s petrol, train tickets or bus tickets, it all adds up. By working remotely, or commuting outside of rush hour, employees save on these huge costs. And if working from home, there’s also often less temptation to go visit the vending machine or nip out for that expensive coffee at lunch…
- Reduced Stress
Flexible working can also contribute towards lowered stress levels. Instead of trying to fit everything in outside of strict 9-5 hours, employees can plan work around appointments, childcare and other important necessities. This means employees can still get work done, whilst accomplishing all other daily tasks without the hassle of booking time off or owing time.
- In Charge
Particularly relevant if working remotely, employees are essentially their own boss when working to their own schedule. They are accountable for scheduling their work for the day and get it done. This gives them more responsibility and makes their job more satisfying.
- More Productive
Time saved from no longer travelling to work in rush hour (or at all) can be utilised to enhance employees’ workload as well as nurture their mental and physical health. It leaves them more time to switch off when needed and get a good amount of exercise. Good mental and physical health means increased productivity, and happy and healthy employees.
Benefits For Employers
- Reduced Absences and Turnover
Happier staff are less likely to want to leave their job or phone in for a sick day. By offering flexible working as an employer, you are giving your staff flexibility with their work and life balance, which in turn will mean higher staff retention rates.
- Boosted Morale and Productivity
Similar to the benefit of reduced turnover – if your staff are happier and more satisfied, their morale is boosted. This means they will be more productive and more motivated to get that report done faster, meet that difficult deadline and achieve their KPIs.
- Become a Favoured Employer
Need more employees? If you are seen as a flexible or family-friendly employer, candidates will come flocking. Your business’s image will be enhanced, and you will be seen in a more positive light.
- ‘Out of Hours’ Operation
Particularly in areas of work such as customer service, another benefit can be that your business’s hours can be extended out of the normal 9-5. This means your customers or clients get answers quicker, no potential leads are missed and satisfaction levels are raised.
- Can Be Cost-Effective
Staff often value flexible working over other forms of remuneration, so there is often a positive financial implication of allowing staff to work flexibly.
Thinking About Introducing Flexible Working?
Flexible working requires flexible systems to meet changing HR demands. If you’re thinking about introducing flexible working into your business, FMP can help ease the burden of HR and payroll with our range of modular HR software solutions and outsourced payroll services. Get in touch today.