Flexible working is a term that keeps grabbing headlines on an almost daily basis and is becoming increasing prominent in today’s society.
Even in the recent political race, Jeremy Corbyn promised us that his party would introduce a four-day week within 10 years. But why has this way of working become so in demand of late and is it something that employers should be widely offering?
Compared to some of our European neighbours, we as a country are lagging behind on our flexible work offering, yet according to Bill Gates, the offer of flexi-working is one of the best ways to keep fresh talent at that helm of companies. This has been echoed by a handful of studies which have outlined that the modern worker wants a better work-life balance and prefers a flexible or alternative schedule.
The advantages for offering flexible working are growing, from increased employee retention to greater productivity within the team and as an employer, promoting the ethos of a healthy work/life balance.
The Office of National Statistics revealed that over 70% of individuals with children are currently in the workforce, so by offering flexible working it allows individuals to balance commitments in their personal lives with the demands on their work life.
At Whistle, we pride ourselves on offering flexible working to all our employees, many of which are busy working parents who juggle on-going childcare commitments and school wrap-around care on a daily basis. Speaking from experience, this kind of flexibility from an employer will often come out on top over any financial offering.
However, it’s not just working parents this benefit should apply to. At Whistle, we introduced ‘Beat the Commute’ so employees can work from home for the first hour of the day and not come into the office until 10am. Nobody wants to be stuck on the M6 on a Monday morning, so it was an initiative that not only made Monday mornings a little brighter, but increased productivity because the team wasn’t spending their valuable time on what is a notoriously busy commute.
As an alternative to ‘Beat the Commute’, we also give people the option of working flexible hours each day. In a modern society, we can’t expect the entire workforce to jump out of bed at 6am, ready to start the day. Some people are wired like that and some work much better once they’ve had a coffee or two. Getting the best out of your team means understanding how each individual ticks, so by letting them pick their own working hours, they’ll be hugely more productive and won’t resent the working week.
From offering a wide range of flexible benefits, we have found that we’ve been able to retain some of the best people within the industry and keep our staff turnover at an absolute minimum. As a business, our employees have reaped the rewards of working flexibly so they can attend their child’s annual Sports Day or Christmas play, whilst as a business, we have a solid culture that has developed over the years and will continue to grow.
Gemma Hitchcock is an Account Director at Whistle PR which offers a range of integrated communications services including strategic consultancy, PR, social media and internal communications. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.