Flexible working is the business benefit at the top of almost every employee’s wish list. From potential candidates to long-term employees, juniors to executives, flexible working is the job benefit of choice. It has become so popular, that some HR experts are heralding the death of the typical 9 to 5 working day. But what makes it so popular and are there any real benefits to be gained?
Here are some of the benefits of working remotely and the impact they could have on your workforce, team productivity and company morale.
The benefits of flexible working and remote working
1. Increased productivity
The advantages of remote working are beneficial for businesses as well as employees — most notably, in the form of increased productivity. Integris released an article providing detail on how less commute time and a better work-life balance can have a positive impact on employee productivity.
By allowing flexible working hours, employers are also free to introduce agile working in the form of staggered hours and alternative shift patterns to become more ‘available’ to customers, even outside of business working hours.
2. Reduces stress and burnout
A recent Labour Force Survey from Health and Safety Executive shows that over a 12-month period, 1,780 cases per 100,000 workers were reported to have mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety, all caused (or worsened) by their workplace. This makes the offer of flexible working hours, telecommuting or remote working crucial to employee wellbeing.
TUC secretary general, Frances O’Grady, told HR Review: “It’s in no-one’s interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off.”
3. Promotes a healthy work-life balance
The introduction of flexible working strategies is an excellent way to help promote a healthy work-life balance in employees. The benefits of working remotely allow employees to switch off or enjoy more time with the family, thereby limiting stress, dissatisfaction and burnout.
4. Better job satisfaction
The benefits of working remotely also include better job satisfaction for employees. HR Policy Adviser at the London School of Economics (LSE), Natalie Pancheri, said: “The benefits of flexible working are well established, from increased employee engagement to better performance.”
5. Flexible working attracts top talent
The benefits of working remotely also include talent acquisition. According to our research, 73% of employers agree that flexible working is essential for staff retention and attraction as staff are more satisfied overall. A study by Global Workplace Analytics found that 95% of employers saw an improvement in employee retention rates once a remote working environment had been successfully implemented.
How do you manage flexible working?
Now that you’re well versed in the advantages of remote working and the offer of flexible working hours, it’s helpful to cover practical ways of implementing them.
A degree of technology may be needed in order to offer remote working to staff — you’ll need to be able to contact them throughout the day while they’re at home. This can be achieved through basic means, such as email, telecommuting or via an instant messaging app or platform. Some companies may also choose to use project management software with digital ticketing systems which make job progress tracking and communication more effective.
Flexible working can be offered through something as simple as allowing staff to shift their working day by a few hours, either by coming in early and finishing early or vice versa. Some staff may even prefer to work from home at the weekend rather than a weekday. Expectations and guidelines surrounding this can be outlined in employee contracts.
For the latest industry insights, Access Robert Half Salary Guide and gain clear advice on how to implement flexible working into your employee benefits package. For more information, get in touch with the Robert Half team.
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