Is flexible working good for business?
Flexible working is becoming more and more common in the UK with the UK labour market having one of the most diverse ranges of working patterns in Europe1. In fact, 80% of UK professionals believe that their senior management support the idea of flexible working2. But does it really work, and how is it good for business?
Does flexible working improve productivity?
One of the most appealing benefits of flexible working is the increase in productivity that it can yield. Just because an employee is in the office 9-5, five days a week, it doesn't necessarily mean they are being productive for all of those hours. By giving employees the option to work hours that suit them, you are giving them the opportunity to work at times when they are most productive.
Likewise location can have a positive effect on productivity. If an employee can use a flexible workspace that is much closer to them, at hours when they are most productive, then the outcomes of their focus and work are likely to be of a higher standard.
Research into this school of thinking has proved surprisingly conclusive for a concept that is relatively new. For example, a study titled 'Flexibility Drives Productivity' shows 72% of global businesses report that increased productivity is a direct result of flexible working practices.
How can flexible working save your business money?
By introducing flexible workspaces in a variety of locations, you can save desk space within the office and in turn save your business money.
In a YouGov poll for Vodafone, business decision makers said that they could lose 46 desks on average to save desk space, estimating that they'd save an average of £441 a year per desk.
The actual average cost of a desk in the UK is £5,746, meaning that if a business was to introduce flexible working and reduce the need for 46 desks, they could stand to save an average of £260,000 per year3.
Can flexible working improve staff retention?
Flexible working is also a great way of improving your retention rates as it's a benefit that employees really value. This is reflected in CIPD's 'Flexible working provision and update' survey, in which nearly a third of employees said that flexible working was a reason they stayed with their employer.
The survey also found that nearly three quarters of employers believed that putting flexible working strategies in place had a positive effect on their staff retention rates4.
Flexible working and engagement
If staff have more ownership of their time then they will have more chance to get their work/life balance right. This in turn can reduce stress, motivate employees and make them more engaged when they are working.
CIPD also has strong evidence to support this, with three quarters of employers stating that flexible working had a positive impact on staff motivation and engagement5.
How does flexible working improve recruitment?
In today's highly competitive recruitment market having a policy of flexible working can really help you to stand out from the crowd. Current research shows that 1 in 3 employees would leave their current role for a job that had more flexible working arrangements. Furthermore, when you focus on the age group of 18-32 year olds this figure rises to 43%6.
Learn more about flexible working
This blog post is just the beginning, whether you already have a flexible working policy but are looking to improve it, or you currently have no kind of flexible working benefits, it can really pay to learn more.
For more information on this topic visit Flexibility, a website dedicated to flexible working.
1. Gov.uk: Business benefits of flexible working
2. Regus: Don't be a stranger, remote managers urged
3. Vodafone: Flexible working can save British businesses £34 billion
4. CIPD: Flexible working provision and uptake (PDF)
5. CIPD: Flexible working provision and uptake(PDF)
6. Unify: New way to work