Which type of flexible working is best for your team?

When it comes to defining flexible working, some people struggle to put their finger on what it actually means. In fact, one of the joys of flexible working is that it’s so varied - giving you and your team the chance to work in a way that suits everyone involved. 

First of all, when it comes to flexible working, it’s worth considering the facts. According to a study conducted by HSBC in 2017, nine out of ten employees believe that flexible working is the key to boosting productivity levels. 

The most productive sector – the professional services industry – “is the most likely to offer employees flexible hours, with 36% of professional services employees saying it is available to them.” In contrast, in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry, where one in four workers are not offered benefits or perks of any kind (including flexible working), productivity is lowest.

This study also highlights an interesting discrepancy between the number of employees who would like to work flexibly and those who are given this option: “the vast majority of employees who are currently offered flexible working believe it motivates them, yet less than a third (30%) of business offer it.”

So how can your business support its employees and tap into the benefits of flexible working? We’ve picked out a number of flexible working styles and how they could boost your business.

 

17 September 2018

Working from home

 

Remote workers - even those who only spend part of their week working remotely - are more productive, as well as reporting higher job satisfaction and engagement with their role than their office-based counterparts. Despite this, remote staff often end up clocking more working hours than those who are office-based.

 

Flexible hours

 

The nine-to-five work pattern might be the norm, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most productive. A recent study by BT shows that “the absentee rate among flexible workers is down 63% and is now 20% below the UK average.” So offering part-time or variable hours as an option can be of great benefit to your business, as well as your employees. The hours staff opt to work each week can vary or they can be fixed, according to the nature of their role and your business.

 

Job sharing

 

Creating a role that two employees share can be useful for the business because two brains are, inevitably, better than one. It will be easier to solve any problems a role throws up if the employees sharing responsibility for it are able to bring different but complementary experiences and insights to the task at hand.

 

The Harvard Business Review suggests that it’s partly the collaborative aspect of job sharing that makes it so effective. When it comes to picking the right job-share partner, it recommends choosing “someone with whom you can easily communicate, collaborate, and disagree. These arrangements often require difficult conversations about prioritising work, office politics and personal matters so you want to be sure you pick someone compatible.”

 

Compressed hours, or varied start/finish times

 

Offering the option for employees to start or finish earlier or later than their colleagues - or compress their working hours into fewer days each week - can help to lower stress and prevent burnout. Given that mental illness is now more common than back pain in the workplace, it’s useful to know that psychological stress can be eased by allowing staff to adjust their working week to fit in with their lifestyle and personal responsibilities.  

 

If you’d like to learn more about how flexible working could benefit you, get in touch with us today.