Over the last few years, there’s been a significant shift away from traditional 9-5 work schedules to a more flexible approach. More employers are seeing the benefits of flexible working and offering increased flexibility to their employees. This means that as a new generation enters the workforce, they expect these options. Flexible working is no longer special or different. Over the coming years, we could see it become the norm.
If you currently operate a traditional setup, suddenly offering everyone more flexibility can seem like a monumental task. But, it certainly doesn’t have to be, and not all of your employees will want it. Some might prefer another kind of schedule, and you can take a look at a complete list of work schedule types for more ideas.
The key to successful flexible working is often, well, flexibility. Remember, all of your employees are different. They have different needs and wants, and they work differently. If you are looking to implement some changes, first start speaking openly with your team. Here’s a look at some of the benefits that you could soon reap.
Increased Employee Retention
Research suggests that those offered flexibility are more likely to stick around and show loyalty to their employer. If you make their lives easier, why would they leave? They feel respected, manage other commitments more comfortably, and are happy coming into work. If they did ever consider leaving, they might worry about whether a new employer would offer the same flexibility. Increased retention can mean that your team is better trained, they work well together, and you waste less money on recruitment and training.
A Boost to Productivity
Happier, less stressed staff work harder and faster. They get more done when they aren’t worried about other commitments, and they are less likely to take sick days or regular holidays when things are working well. Even if you have employees working from home (where many are more productive), this means less disruption to your business.
An Opportunity to Extend Opening Hours
Moving away from 9-5 might mean that you have employees working outside of these usual office hours. You may have team members available earlier in the day, late into the evening, and even overnight.
This could mean extending your opening hours or at least offering some core services throughout the day. In a world that is always awake and always online, this is becoming much more important and could give you the edge over other businesses.
More Highly Trained Staff
While as employers, we respect our staff’s decisions, when someone leaves, it’s disruptive. Flexible working gives many people, parents, for example, an option between working or staying at home. Reduced childcare costs and more family time means that many women especially are staying in work once they’ve had children. This can mean that you keep hold of some of your best staff members, even when there are changes to their personal lives.
It’s Pandemic Proof
Well, not entirely. Even if you offer flexible working conditions when a pandemic hits, changes need to be made. This year you may have had to ask more of your staff to work from home and set up more in-depth home working guidelines and strategies. But, if you already offered some kind of flexible working, this would have been easier. Many of your employees were already used to working from home. They already had a home office set up, they were already good at managing their own time and communicating with the office, and very little had to change. The business operated a more traditional 9-5 in the office schedule, which would have had a more challenging time adapting.
Hopefully, this is our last pandemic for a while, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what might happen. If you are offering flexible working, you are ready for anything.
From an employee’s point of view, there are countless benefits to flexible working. They can work from home, without a time consuming, costly and stressful commute. They can save money on childcare and spend more time with their families. They’ll never have to worry about leaving the office early to do the school run. Flexibility can also give them greater control over how they work, which can improve productivity and creativity. Of course, flexibility, and indeed home working, won’t suit everyone, some of your team might work better under direct supervision. But, that’s the best thing about flexibility. It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone.