The majority of employers now understand that offering flexible working is part of the modern workplace. Those that do offer flexibility range from remote working, part-time employment, shorter hours, flexible leave, job sharing, and career breaks.
Other employers who currently offer little flexibility cannot ignore the issue forever, and it’s always best to address it sooner rather than later to keep up with your competitors. But careful thought needs to be given to the pros and cons involved, particularly in relation to business concerns such as costs and productivity.
PROS OF FLEXIBLE WORKING
Flexible working often results in employees feeling more in control, and a lot happier. It gives employees the opportunity to set up their own work environment in the best way that suits them and helps to boost their own productivity. As well as this, greater freedom and flexibility allows for a better work-life balance, leading to happier workers who are more productive and less likely to take time off sick.
LARGER TALENT POOL
For candidates with in-demand skills and experience, there are endless job opportunities. For companies in popular cities, there will always be a lot of competition to hire the strongest candidates in their area. Some businesses win and others lose out, as there isn’t enough top talent in the local area. Flexible working allows businesses to tap into a larger pool of highly skilled talent.
STAY AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITORS
How an employer comes across to potential candidates and existing employees is critical to how successful the business will be in attracting new talent and retaining existing employees. Offering flexible working arrangements will help a business to keep up with the current times in the 21st-century, and also to stay ahead of competitors by providing a modern, flexible workplace.
LOWER OFFICE COSTS
In most cases, smaller offices mean lower costs. There could be less of a need for computers and other office equipment, as well as this utility bills could also be reduced. With more companies adopting flexible working, it’s possible that they are gaining financial and efficiency benefits. These come from downsizing office space or adopting a flexible working approach.
CONS OF FLEXIBLE WORKING
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS
After adopting a flexible working policy, many businesses will receive lots of requests from their employees. Not every request can be accepted, and the process can become very difficult when you have to decide which employees qualify for flexible working. For difficult requests, make sure to have policies in place to help make the decisions easier.
ENSURE HIGH PRODUCTIVITY
A big concern for most managers have with flexible working is guaranteeing productivity. It is impossible to be sure that someone who has never done flexible working in the past, will be just as efficient and be able to keep up with their current workload as they would when based in the office. Part of the potential problem is down to a communications issue, that when employees are flexible working or working remotely, their colleagues and managers might feel that communicating with them becomes more difficult.
LACK OF COMMUNICATION
Lots of technologies and tools are in place to help co-workers to easily stay in contact, whether they are in the office or remote working. However, some people believe that there’s no replacement for communicating face to face in person. As flexibility becomes more and more common in the workplace, it is up to managers and other key decision-makers within the business to make sure that teams have a reliable tool in place to stay in contact with co-workers, without effecting current communication and efficiency.
My personal view is that the benefits of flexible working outweigh the potential negatives, but ONLY IF you have employees you can trust. With the current technologies that are available today, there is no reason why flexible working can’t be used as an advantage for your business. But it’s crucial to carefully plan out how you intend to implement new flexible working strategies, with the right policies and technologies in place to guarantee positive results not only for the business but your employees as well.
If you’re interested in more finding out more, head over to our other blog and find out everything you need to know about flexible working.