How can flexible working benefit your employees, and why should you implement this in your workplace?
The bank BNY Mellon recently informed their employees that they would be expected to work from their offices full time, and that employees would no longer be entitled to work from home, when flexible working arrangements had been built into their contracts since 2017. This policy will particularly have an impact on working parents, who require more flexibility due to child care arrangements. Employees sought advice from ACAS, with several speaking to the press to express their disappointment, saying they would be forced to seek alternative employment.
However, flexible working does not just impact on those with childcare responsibilities. A recent study conducted by PageGroup found that millennials expect flexible working to be offered as a standard and not as an additional benefit. When asked which benefits they wanted to see offered in the next five years, flexi-time was the most popular answer (67%), followed by ‘flexi-place’ (57%), and compressed work weeks (54%). In addition to this, time in lieu (49%) and career breaks (41%) were high on their list too. Employees benefit from flexible working for a variety of reasons, as it enables a better work-life balance which significantly impacts on well being and mental health.
Flexibility in the workplace is defined differently by everyone and what works for one person may not work for another. The key to success is to ensure that it is tailored to the individuals in the workforce and that they have the option to choose what is important to them. Flexible and dynamic working arrangements are becoming increasingly important alongside remuneration and development opportunities.
It is also important to consider that the motivations of employees will change over time, and this will be key in driving forward retention in later years. The lifestyles of your employees will often change, and it is essential to keep up with the shifting needs of your staff. People are more inclined to adapt if you provide the flexibility of dynamic working as it delegates them more accountability for their work.
Many businesses have adopted or are now in the process of adopting flexible benefits packages that allow employees to determine the benefits that best suit their needs and lifestyle. This is now becoming the norm rather than the exception in both large and small businesses across the UK.
Steps like those taken by BNY Mellon are a step back for diversity and inclusion, as well as general employee wellbeing. If you have recruited employees who you think are right for the needs of your business, why would they be less effective when working from home or flexibly? With the continued development of technology, businesses have better infrastructures to support technological advances and these, in turn, encourage further flexibility. This could include remote working, ‘hot-desking’ or working from another location. Although there may be some challenges when initially implementing these, the benefits far outweigh any teething problems that businesses may experience and will further support an engaged and productive workforce.
Trusting your employees and considering their needs are key to retaining and engaging them, and how your employees will be affected should be at the forefront of your mind when designing policies which work for them.
If you need support with implementing flexible working plans, get in touch!
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