Flexible working isn’t just about having the opportunity to work in your pajamas every Friday, or job sharing with someone else so you can pick your kids up from school. It’s a movement that is fast gaining momentum as more and more workers eschew the normal 9-5 working hours in favour of working patterns that are better suited to a healthy work-life balance. Many companies and bosses fear flexible working requests because they are afraid of upsetting the status quo – after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unfortunately, the 9-5 system is broken, and we’re just taking a while to see all the cracks in the system.
9-5 working hours not working
Some experts have gone as far to say that 9-5 working hours are inhumane, while others have simply noted that workers sticking to these hours are less productive than their flexible working counterparts. Whatever the science behind it, there’s no denying that flexible working keeps employees happy and healthy. Not only does it display a level of trust in your workers, but it also allows them to fully commit to both their home and work lives.
Happy workers are healthy workers
Not only does flexible working have a positive impact on stress levels, but it also reduces the amount of sick days taken – whether genuine or otherwise. If employees have the option to work from home at short notice, they are much less likely to track their germs into the office and bring their co-workers down with the same illness. And in the case of fake sick days, workers are far less likely to call in with a fake illness to allow them to deal with family emergencies if they are trusted to work from home in that situation.
Boost productivity and your business
The benefits aren’t limited to your employee’s mood and health; your business will benefit from a boost in productivity, increased hours of operation, lower overheads and a boost in skills available. If an employee requests a job sharing arrangement, you have the opportunity to expand the available skill set by hiring someone with strengths in a different area. Also, if your employees are working from home on various days throughout the week, you’ll save money on office running costs as they’ll be drinking their coffee and powering their own computers.
Benefits outweigh the costs
Like it or not, companies have a legal obligation to follow strict procedure with flexible working requests. In the UK, there are only seven reasons an employer can reject a flexible working request, and they must be able to show that it the request would be detrimental to business. Businesses who fail to act in a reasonable manner can face fines and legal action in the form of an employment tribunal. There is also the added cost of replacing employees who leave as a result of their needs not being met. Happy employees are more likely to stick around for longer, meaning your recruitment costs are lowered, and your company is staffed with engaged and motivated individuals with expert knowledge of your company.
About the Author:
Rebecca Harper is a freelance writer specialising in business and employment law. She is currently working alongside Gorvins Solicitors, a dispute resolution solicitors in Manchester to investigate the rise in research flexible working arrangements.
Image Source: The image credit is Luis Llerena (https://unsplash.com/search/photos/work?photo=6cOUbEdwG24)