Why you need to pay attention to flexible working

Why you need to pay attention to flexible working 

Flexible working is key to the modern workplace, regardless of the size and age of your business.  This isn’t just a fad.

Flexible working is a legal requirement, business culture challenge, cost-saving opportunity and ‘lifestyle trend’ all rolled into one.

Here’s why you need to pay attention: 

  1. It’s the law. Legislation from 2014 means that all employees with more than 26 weeks’ service have the right to request flexible working from their employer. They can make one request a year and have the right to request changes to: their hours, term-time working, job-sharing, career breaks and/or working from home on a regular basis. You don’t have to accept the request but you must have a ‘reasonable’ explanation for turning it down.
  2. The workforce is changing and expectations are changing too. Research has shown that millennials are more demanding in their jobs but they’re not the only ones. Parents, carers, employees with voluntary and sporting interests and people working in portfolio careers all really value and expect a chance to work more flexibly.
  3. Flexibility increases engagement and productivity  It makes sense that giving people more control over how, where and when they work provides a sense of ownership of their work and increases their commitment to their employer. A CIPD study found that 72% of managers said that flexible working had a positive impact on staff engagement, Bedrock clients have also said that working at home for a day a week makes some staff more productive as they are away from the distractions from the office.
  4. It gives you an edge in recruitment and talent acquisition. Being proactive in the flexible working offered as part of your benefits package can count as much as salary and annual leave. A good total package will attract talent to your organisation and give you an edge over your competitors.
  5. Turnover will cost you employees are much more likely to look around if they are unhappy with a part of their package. Why lose a good employee and pay thousands of pounds to replace them? Traditionally this situation has applied to mothers returning from maternity leave, but now employees of all ages are choosing jobs that offer flexible working. A survey showed that 25% of employees would choose flexible working over a pay rise
  6. It’s part of your company’s culture Like it or not, you are judged by your approach to flexible working and it forms part of what people believe about your company. As the boundaries blur between the internal culture and your external brand, we think that in this case good HR is good PR
  7. You want your organisation to grow. The networking and opportunities that flexible working in shared workspaces can bring will add new ideas, creativity and challenge to your way of thinking. If you’re in start-up phase, a shared workspace  [link] can help with this process
  8. But – it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Not all flexible working practices will work for everyone, and it’s important to trial changes to see how they affect your delivery. Consider carefully which options suit your business model – for example could you offer flex-hours around a core hours each day to ensure there is always a good number of the team together? Would a rota of home working work that is shared and owned by the team members?

What to do if you’re thinking about implementing flexible working in your company: 

  1. Talk to us – If you’ve had requests, you must respond within a certain timescale and give a ‘reasonable’ response. If you want to be proactive about your flexible working policy we can help think through what will suit your organisation.
  2. Make sure that your employees are aware of their right to request and be aware that this may lead to an increase in requests
  3. Consider what might work for your company talk to your managers and your customers to come up with ideas for designing solutions that suit your delivery
  4. Talk to your team what would help them in their roles and their personal lives?
  5. Try it, evaluate, try something different we recommend running a pilot of any changes first and then evaluating after 2 months. It’s best to try a number of options to see how each affects your organisation.