What is flexible working?
Flexible working is actually an umbrella term for a range of varied employment options. It can actually refer to any arrangement that allows staff to work in a way that suits them as well as their employer.
Learning more about flexible working and its many possibilities opens up exciting opportunities for employers and employees alike - including savings on overheads and the chance to extend operating hours for business owners, not to mention increased job satisfaction and boosted morale for staff.
So, how could flexible working look in your workplace? We’ve broken down the potential options into three categories in order to illustrate what’s available to suit a range of industries and business types. Take a look to see what could work for you - whether you’re an employer or an employee:
Flexible number of hours
This style of flexible working focuses on offering a schedule or number of hours that differ from the traditional nine-to-five model, but that remains fixed from week to week. For example, part-time employment can be a useful way to allow team members to work with a flexibility that suits their needs, but in a way that’s entirely predictable for the business. This is a good choice if clients require staff to be reliably on call at certain times of day.
When it comes to flexible working hours, job sharing is another popular option. This simply means that two people share a role, with a number of overlapping hours to cover handover. For example, each might work three days per week. This allows for the necessary business hours to be covered, while allowing employees to work in a way that suits them. In addition, the business gains two sets of slightly different skill sets. It’s even possible to create part-year flexibility if your workplace has busier and quieter seasons on an annual basis. With that in mind, it may prove financially beneficial for a business to have varying numbers of staff on board at different points through the year, according to client demand.
Full time options include a compressed working week (compressing 5 days work into 4) or fortnight (compressing 10 days work into 9), offering a different way to achieve a work life balance.
If it’s possible - even useful - to vary schedules and hours for employees each week, month or season, flexi-time is a great choice. This could mean allowing staff to pick and choose between shift options, or offering a range of start and finish times. Just a small change can make an enormous difference to an employee. For example, being able to start at 9:30 instead of 9 has huge implications on childcare for parents.
This involves working from somewhere other than the office, be that home or indeed anywhere. It’s a useful choice for staff with a lengthy commute who are able to complete their work remotely. If you’re looking for a full-time member of staff but still want to offer some stress-reducing flexibility, this is a great option. After all, numerous studies have linked commuting to stress, and stress costs the UK economy £4bn a year.
For some, working from home can be a full-time permanent option managed with regular phone or video-call catch-ups. However, it’s also popular as a short-term or periodic option, allowing staff to work from home while their children are younger, for example.
If you’d like to learn more about how flexible working could benefit you, get in touch with us today.