Limber-Up: Flexible Work Schedules are the Way to Go
Say goodbye to the typical work week – today’s employees are looking for jobs that allow them to make the most of their personal schedules, whilst maintaining professionalism in their work portfolio. Naturally, technology has made it easier for businesses to grant their workforce more freedom, and new regulations make part-time work a feasible means of earning.
Is the downfall of the desk job indicative of a lack of employee motivation? Certainly not.
A 2015 study sponsored by Vodafone found that nixing the desks often left behind by traveling or potential work-from-home employees can result in maximum savings.
The study concluded that the ‘average cost of maintaining a typical desk space (including real estate value) in the UK has been estimated as £5,740 per annum’ and that by adopting a flexible schedule for those not using the space could lead to a ‘potential saving of £1.1 billion per annum.’
With the possibilities technology brings to today’s employers - whether it be the typical work from home setup or the vast amount of other options presented with video conferencing, instant messaging, and of course the widespread Wi-Fi accessibility- it’s never been easier for employees to get work done remotely. And it’s not just about cutting down on overhead for business owners, clients will also appreciate your ability to meet them wherever is of convenience to them.
Care for Clients
It’s no secret that the best way to bring about customer loyalty is to treat your customers with respect. Customer service has never been better than in this new flexible-schedule era. Employees who have the option of versatility are able to meet clients on their terms - time and place. In a digital age, an ‘office’ essentially consists of a laptop and a cloud storage drive, so the location is not as pivotal as it once was for the success of the meeting. For example, even accountancy can be done paperless. PrintUK.com, a Darlington based firm were one of the first printing firms in the UK to become FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified whilst implementing sweeping cloud base working.
Furthermore, imagine how much easier it would be to negotiate a call-time with overseas clients when your employees are available beyond typical working hours. Cutting the strings from the office and micromanaging shows that the less stress on your employee, the more glowing your customer review.
In 2014, employees earned the right to work flexible hours if they’ve been working for the same employer for 26 weeks. While this may seem odd in our typical 9-5 era, it’s really what the workforce is looking for. Recent results from a 2015 Timewise Study found that 14.1 million people, or about 46% of the UK’s workers, desire flexible options and only about 6.2% of businesses advertise such positions. The demand has been made clear - it’s up to employers to offer the supply. If you are unsure of your rights or responsibilities are, it can always be a good idea to seek professional help, especially if your employers’ rigid schedules and demands are impacting your general wellbeing.
Flexible and part-time work allows employees to work around their home life. This ability cuts the amount of stress in an individual’s personal life, greatly increasing their overall health. Flexibility allows employees to determine their own schedule and this empowerment can help motivate your workforce. A dedicated team provides nothing but benefits to a burgeoning business.
Building Team Morale
Once you move from cubicle to mobile, how will this affect your staff? Mostly positively, it turns out. According to a 2015 Centre for Economics and Business Research study , an ability to work from home would provide ‘savings in commuter costs of £3.8bn, with a further reduction of 533 million hours spent travelling to and from work annually’. While your staff may work far from your business base, these benefits may very well make them inclined to work more. The study also noted that ‘60% of part-time working respondents indicated that they would be inclined to work more hours if given the opportunity to work remotely.’
The truth is, productivity ought not to be limited by outdated and daylight hours. Employees with families and outside obligations are no less valuable if they can’t be on company property at traditional workday times. If your team feels they are responsible for themselves on their own terms, they’ll feel just as responsible for representing your company to the best of their ability.
Adopting part-time and flexible work hours are the next step for a growing business - why not try stretching?
One company that comes to mind is Enviko. They have a number of engineers on the road and an office based staff. By allowing employees to choose their working hours and their place of work they saw a mark up lift in productivity and a reduction in employee absence through time keeping and illness. Read more here.