In order to attract a more diverse workforce, you need to have a diverse approach to your terms of employment. One possible way of doing this is by offering contracts that allow for flexible working hours. A recent study found that flexible working contributes £37 billion to the UK economy. Read on to find out the top tips for providing flexible work and the advantages of flexible working for employers.

The global pandemic forced employers up and down the country to rethink traditional work forms. Much like remote working, we’ve also seen an increase in flexible working over recent years. This is likely set to continue as employers providing flexible work have reaped a host of benefits.

What is Flexible Work?

Flexible work has a few different names and can refer to a range of different systems. Some, like part-time work, are incredibly common. Others, such as flexitime, are new and upcoming approaches to working hours.

Read our short list of different options for flexible work:

Flexitime: Where the employee agrees to a set number of hours or workload within a broader timeframe but can complete that whenever they choose. For example, the agreement might state that the employee does 7 hours of work every weekday. These hours can be worked at any point between 6 am and 7 pm.

Compressed hours: An agreement that an employee will complete the regular number of hours or workload but within a shorter timeframe. For example, the employee may complete 40 hours per week, compressed into four 10-hour days, instead of five 8-hour days.

Annualised hours: Similar to flexitime, an annual hours agreement states how much an employee must do over a year. However, they can choose the period in which they want to complete those hours.

Term-time working: This involves agreeing to a regular working week or period. However, there are set points of the year when the employee will not work, without having to request leave. This is usually requested by parents who don’t want to work when their children are off school.

Benefits of Offering Flexible Work

There is an array of advantages of flexible working for employers. We look at some of the most important benefits below:

  • Productivity

    According to a Gartner survey, 43% of respondents said they were more productive when they had flexible working hours. All employees are different and will know best about when they are most productive. So, if your employee knows they work best at 4 am, why stop them?

  • Stress Levels

    Particularly for parents, committing to work alongside their family responsibilities is incredibly difficult. It’s important for them to know that there is a flexible agreement in place. This will allow them to attend to both work life and home life. Thus, significantly reducing the stress levels of your employee and the possibility of employee burnout.

  • Diversity

    Different people have different commitments so you mustn’t force every one of your employees to stick to the same structure. By doing this, you’ll inevitably reject a large swathe of potential candidates for your business. By offering flexible work, you increase your talent pool and, in turn, the diversity of your workforce.

  • Motivation

    Offering flexible work is a simple and easy way to acknowledge your staff as individuals with individual needs. It’s also a lot easier to retain satisfied employees. Providing flexible working options demonstrates a level of respect that will help motivate your workforce, boosting employee retention and attraction.

Tips Around Offering Flexible Work

Although flexible work sounds great, it can require specific circumstances to be possible. Here are a few considerations you must take into account before allowing your staff to reorganise their work life:

  • Content of Their Work

    Some jobs just have to be done within certain hours. For example, if your employee works in sales or a customer-facing role, they must be present when the customer is present. In turn, if you’re going to offer flexible working, you must also prepare for difficult conversations. Some employees will be able to avail of it while others won’t.

  • Strategy of Implementation

    If your company requires someone present at all times, you will have to establish an agreed-upon schedule. This works the same as when an employee goes on holiday. However, you must make it clear that you can’t offer the same flexibility if it has added costs for the company. In turn, remind your staff of any hours or elements of work that aren’t flexible, such as meetings or training.

  • Accountability

    Some staff members may already be working independently or without constant supervision. In this case, you must agree on another way to ensure their work maintains an acceptable standard. Some employers establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in this situation. Or you could establish a set number of hours per week when both the staff member and supervisor are present.

    Another type of flexible work not mentioned on this page is remote work. Head over to our full guide detailing the benefits and implementation of Remote work.

Advantage of Flexible Working for Employers: Key Takeaways

The advantages of flexible working for employers and employees are clear. Both parties benefit from greater productivity, reduced stress, and increased employee satisfaction. With the right systems in place and careful planning, flexible work has the potential to boost your business and take it to the next level.

Interested in finding out more? Our website has a wealth of resources for employers. Be sure to check out our services page. It has information on advertising on our specialist jobs board, creating a company profile, and more.

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