Why flexible working is good for business

Time to say goodbye to standard office hours? Flexible working can benefit both an employee and employer
by Bethan Rees

In the UK, all employees have the legal right to request flexible working if they have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks – this offering doesn’t just extend to parents and carers. According to the UK government website, flexible working is described as “a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg, having flexible start and finish times, or working from home”.

It seems to be gaining traction, according to a recent YouGov survey of more than 1,800 workers in the UK. Only 6% of employees are working the traditional 9am to 5pm, and when asked to state their preferred hours, 16% of respondents opted for 9am to 5pm, 37% preferred 8am to 4pm, and 21% opted for 7am to 3pm.

And in response to the question of what constitutes a 'good job', 61% say flexible working hours would be an important factor. Here are some reasons why.
Work-life balanceWorking flexibly might mean that you are able to spend more time with your loved ones, pursuing a hobby or passion, or just relaxing. Being overworked, tired or stressed can lead to poor health, or even serious health conditions.
Efficiency is keyAcas, a public body which provides free and impartial information for employees and employers, published a paper in 2017 titled Flexibility in the workplace: implications of flexible work arrangements for individuals, teams and organisations. It finds that flexible working can improve efficiency, with workers being “very focused on tasks while working”, and managers perceiving flexible workers as more focused, “and therefore, more effective”. (Read more about how to create a work-life balance here.)
Job satisfactionIn an article by Amy Ripley for City University, titled Flexible working increases job satisfaction but it depends on how you arrange it, she refers to research from Cass Business School and Cranfield School of Management that finds flexible working can increase satisfaction and organisational commitment. She quotes the report’s co-author Professor Lilian de Menezes: “Giving employees the opportunity to work more flexibly gives them more autonomy over their working lives and this gives them a sense of job satisfaction and loyalty to their employer.”
Improving diversity Building a diverse workforce can be helped by offering flexible working. Employees, or potential employees, with varying lifestyles and responsibilities, might find traditional office hours difficult to manage. A business can benefit from a diverse workforce through a broader range of skills, knowledge and experience. 

In recognition of this, PwC launched a flexible working recruitment initiative in August 2018, titled the Flexible Talent Network, which enables candidates to choose their own working patterns, to attract a more diverse workforce.

A flexible workforce can equal a balanced, efficient, satisfied and diverse set of employees, which all count towards the success of a business. Is the traditional 9 to 5 soon to be a distant memory?

Seen a blog, news story or discussion online that you think might interest CISI members? Email bethan.rees@wardour.co.uk.
Published: 07 Sep 2018
  • Career Development
  • The Review
  • flexible working
  • work-life balance

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