“Women are working more, men are understanding their value as caregivers, women are primary breadwinners—I mean, we could go on and on and on. Things are different. So we can’t keep operating like everything is the same, and that’s what many of us have done. And I think it’s up to us to change the conversation.”Michelle Obama
As an HR Consultant, if I had £1 for every time a client said to me that “flexible working is only for parents” I would be a very wealthy lady!
The most common question my clients ask is “how can flexible working help my business?” so if you are thinking just that, then read on!
Whilst flexible working is traditionally associated with working parents, we must acknowledge that the world of work is changing and with that, we are seeing a shift in the demographic in society (a third of workers will be over 50 by the end of 2020) therefore the myth around flexible working being just for parents, is simply that, just a myth! Now everyone has the right to request their employer to work more flexibly, which means that change for businesses is inevitable.
There is often a perception from business leaders that flexible working can send out the wrong message, making them hesitant to actively promote flexible working. This is reflected in the latest figures that suggest the percentage of the UK workforce with a flexible working arrangement had not risen above the 27% seen in 2010, and this can prevent the benefits of flexible working being recognised, so it is important for leaders to overcome this general lack of understanding.
The business case for flexible working can help support organisations with some of their biggest challenges such as recruitment, retention, absence, overall wellbeing and enhanced levels of employee engagement.
When it comes to recruitment, flexible working can be used as a great attraction tool. By advertising your vacancies as flexible, this can generate a larger group of candidates to choose from so you can get the right person for the job.
Other benefits to flexible working are the reduction in levels of turnover, absence levels and employees are more likely to go the extra mile for their employer as a result. The report highlights that employees who work flexibly have a much higher level of job satisfaction and demonstrate a greater commitment to their organisations in comparison to those who work the typical 9-5.
The overall advantages to promoting flexible working outweigh the arguments against it; businesses will become more competitive, they will be seen as a desirable employer, some such as Ford have seen increased productivity and reduced costs. Additionally, flexible organisations are also be able to adapt and respond to the changing and uncertain market more easily.
How does flexible working give your business an advantage? Do share your ideas and suggestions in the comments box below.