Flexible working

Flexible Working: The Benefits for Employers and The Pitfalls to Avoid

A recent study by Timewise UK found that 87 percent of people want to work flexibly but just 11 percent of job advertisements state that flexible working arrangements will be considered. With the number of people in work in the UK at a record high and just 3.9 percent of economically active Britons without a job, being open to flexible working practices and saying as much on your job ads could give you an important advantage in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

In some cases, employers see flexible working as a perk rather than a way to get the best out of their teams and try to avoid as much as they can. However, with several proven benefits of flexible working, it’s not something that employers should be wary of.

What are the benefits of flexible working for employers?

1. It fuels employee creativity

Research from the World Economic Forum into the future of work reveals that 97 percent of employers regard creativity as a vital skill for their teams. Flexible working has long been suggested as a tool for helping people be more creative at work, but is there any truth to this assumption? Actually, there is. A study from Cisco UK has found that people with the freedom to work remotely are more creative and agile than their inflexible counterparts. Importantly, they are also more satisfied.

2. Employees are more likely to stay put

Given the competitive job market, a boost to employee retention is one of the most important benefits of putting flexible working arrangements in place. A CIPD survey found that 76 percent of more than 2,500 hiring managers said that they had seen a rise in employee retention rates after introducing flexible working arrangements. The result is a reduction in the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees and a boost to company culture.

3. Cost savings

The average office cost per employee in the UK is £6,000 per year. That’s a significant expense when you consider that the mean occupancy rate of UK offices is just 45 percent over the working day. Introducing flexible working arrangements such as staggered home working and hot desking can help to improve the efficiency of the office and bring down overhead costs without impacting on the products and services you offer.

The pitfalls to be aware of

Introducing flexible working into your business is not all plain sailing. There are also some pitfalls that employers should be aware of that make flexible working more of a hindrance than a perk.

1. The parent trap

Working parents are likely to be some of the biggest advocates of flexible working, as it can help to release some of the pressure on their home lives. However, there is a tendency by some employers to view flexible working as something that’s predominantly for parents, and that can breed unhealthy friction in the workplace. Flexible working should be available to all, whether they have young children, elderly parents, a long commute or simply those who are able to perform better when they’re able to manage their own time.

2. It loses its flexibility

If there are too many boundaries and restrictions in place, flexible working can’t be what it’s supposed to be. Flexible working needs to work for employers and employees, and that requires a certain amount of bending, adapting and accommodating.

3. Mental health cues may be missed

With mental health becoming an increasingly prominent issue in today’s workplaces, flexible working arrangements can be an important way to help counter problems in the first instance. However, seeing less of employees in the workplace can mean that mental health cues are missed. Many employees who work from home say the lines between home and work life become blurred. That can lead to longer hours, an inability to shut off and increased stress.

Looking for talented bilingual recruits for your team?

At Linguistica Recruitment, we work with employers across the south of England to help them find the talented bilingual recruits they need. Find out more about how we can help you and get in touch by calling 02392 987 765 or emailing info@linguistica-recruitment.com today.