One in three (30%) requests for flexible working are being turned down, according to a new TUC poll published in August. The survey shows that ‘flexi-time’ is unavailable to over half (58%) of the UK workforce, despite there being many benefits for employees and employers alike.
Flexible working doesn’t necessarily mean ‘flexi-time’. Flexible working can take a variety of forms, it’s about finding a process or format that works for you and your business.
Here are just a few reasons why you should implement a flexible working policy…
Attract and retain employees
Flexible working is one of the top benefits that jobseekers look for. Showcasing your flexible working policies will help you attract talent and also allows for more diverse, highly skilled candidates to join your workforce. A diversity of lifestyles, skills and personalities help to create a more inclusive and innovative working environment.
There’s a correlation between flexible working and improved attendance in the workplace. When employees are given the freedom to arrange personal commitments around their work responsibilities it can reduce absences and even sickness. Employees also feel trusted and more empowered, creating a sense of brand loyalty.
Happy employees are more productive. This in-turn can translate into increased revenue and also make your business more competitive in your market. A recent report by HSBC found that in the UK technology sector, 89% of respondents cited flexible working as an incentive to be more productive in their jobs.
So, if you’re thinking about implementing flexible working, here’s some things to think about…
What style works for you
From job shares, to altered schedules, to bankable hours, you need to assess what types of flexible working will suit your business. You might look at remote working or working from home for employees, as and when it’s needed. Look at the merits of each option and once you’ve decided, if you’re still wary, implement a trial process to ensure it’s successful across the business.
All employees need to be treated fairly and policies need to apply to everyone in your business. Ensure you communicate clearly how flexible working should be used and if there are any consequences should it be abused, such as taking it away from individuals. It’s important your employees understand how to use it properly, so it becomes a benefit of value. Your managers should lead by example and encourage it’s use as more introverted employees may feel nervous of using it.
Monitor but don’t intrude
To monitor usage, make sure you have technologies in place to support it’s use and that all employees are utilising it. However, remember you’re not introducing a regime of clocking in and out. People don’t want to feel as though they are being watched and you should be able to trust your employees to use flexible working responsibly.
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