It keeps your staff happier, boosts organisational efficiency and saves money.
How has flexible working come about?
It wasn’t until Tim Berners Lee invented the Web in 1989, that flexible working started to become more commonplace. And cloud technology has accelerated that process in recent years.
The cloud is arguably one of the biggest technological advances of our era – and it’s all been facilitated by the web. Complex computing is now done in server farms and the results are beamed directly to whatever device you’re using. Productivity is now achievable anywhere, anytime and at any place.
So, what makes working flexibly so great?
#1 – Job satisfaction will drastically improve
According to a Microsoft survey of 1,000 Brits, more than 80% of SME employees who work flexibly, said it has made a positive difference to their working life. But why wouldn’t you be happier with your job if you were told you could work anywhere? It shows that your employer trusts you, and flexible working empowers you with the options to decide when, where and how you should work.
#2 – It boosts productivity and performance
With flexible working, you can choose where and when you work to extract maximum productivity. Child kept you up all night? Start your working day a little bit later. Got an important deadline to meet? Leave the office, cook yourself some dinner and work through at home!
The Centre for Economics and Business have done a great deal of research into this subject and they say that 92% of workers can manage their time more effectively with flexible working hours. 52% of those surveyed said they’d be able to use more than 3 hours of their working week more effectively if given the opportunity to work flexibly.
#3 – You’ll keep your staff
Employee “brain drain” is one the biggest issues affecting SMEs. Losing your most skilled employees can cost your business dearly. In the case of an employee earning £25,000 a year, it’ll cost the average business £30,614 to replace that employee. These costs account for training, onboarding and the sourcing of a new candidate. By adopting a flexible working policy, you’ll boost the chances of retaining your best staff.
A study by the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) shows that 82% of managers surveyed report that flexible working had a direct improvement on the retention of staff because it helps to keep their staff happier.
#4 – You can keep up with customer requirements
Yes, there are benefits for your customers too!
Flexible working helps to serve your customers better. In an increasingly globalised world, where clients and customers operate in different time zones, flexible working allows you to utilise technology to connect and work with people across the globe. Your business hours can move outside of the core 9am-5pm hours, as your employees gain more control over their working patterns.
#5 – Everyone will save some money!
Commuting to work is an absolute pain. Not only does it take ages, but it costs a lot of money too. As a matter of fact specifically, if you stopped British employees commuting, it’d save them an astonishing £3.8bn in expenses cumulatively.
If you add the time it takes for workers to commute work to that figure, you’d actually see savings rise to £7.1bn. All being told, flexible working can contribute about £90bn to the UK economy by engaging people that are unable to travel to work.
But it isn’t just about your employees and the UK economy, your business will actually save some money too! You won’t need to shell out for expensive hardware and software – All you need to do is make sure they have an internet connection, so they can access the tools your business uses.
#6 – Your staff will be happier and you’ll reduce absence
Feeling a bit miserable on your commute? You’re not the only one. It’s been proven by the ONS that any commute over 60 minutes is detrimental to your well-being, stress anxiety and happiness. So by being flexible in your place of work, you’ll benefit from improved mental health and well-being.
But the benefits of flexible working don’t end there. Only 30% of UK workers take a proper lunch hour, with 24% working through their break. Also, the average employee works about 8 weeks a year for free due to the amount of unpaid overtime they regularly do.
With flexible working, your employees will regain control of their work schedule and rebalance their work-life balance.
Do you have any questions about flexible working? Are you thinking of implementing a flexible working plan? If you are, you should check out our suite of ERP, CRM and productivity tools. They empower your business with what it needs to offer flexible working patterns.
Learning more about flexible working
Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft is an advocate for flexible working. This video is a fascinating insight into the benefits flexible working patterns can offer your business.