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From The Team

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Flexible Working: Is It For Me?

Flexible working arrangements are growing increasingly common in the workplace, as more and more employers are starting to recognize the benefits.

What is flexible working?

Flexible work arrangements enable employees to adjust how and when they work, allowing them to manage their work and non-work lives more effectively. There are many forms of flexible working, including working from home, working part-time, job sharing, or having another kind of flexi-time arrangement.

The benefits of flexible working

1. Positive Employee Attitudes and Engagement

Studies have found that flexible working has a positive correlation with employee attitudes and engagement.

Flexible working enables employees to ensure their work and external lives and responsibilities exist harmoniously. Employers are seen to facilitate employees’ lifestyle and commitments and in return, employees become more loyal and invested in the success of the business which they perceive to genuinely ‘care’ about their employees.

Therefore, they will feel obliged to ‘repay’ the organisation in kind by engaging themselves fully in their roles.

2. Increased Output and Efficiency

Flexible working offers employees a better work-life balance by enabling them to define a working arrangement that supports their lifestyle.

This ultimately maximises employee efficiency and output as it enables employees to either put in additional hours where they otherwise may be unable to work, i.e finishing early for a school run or carer appointment.

Flexible working may mean that the employee can log back in to complete the remaining two hours of a shift in the evening, or slide their shifts time to finish early and accommodate their responsibilities outside of work.

3. Retention and Job Security

Simply offering a working from home/ flexible hours arrangement does wonders for retention. Firms offering flexible working see an increase in retention for several reasons - the primary two being comfort and loyalty.

Also, in providing flexible working arrangements, employers benefit from minimising the risk of external influences causing an employee to leave their role.

By offering a deal that meets the worker’s needs economically, socially and physically, employers can increase in value in the eyes of that individual.  Employees also feel valued and engaged in the business activities.

Loyal employees are less likely to look for a new role at the first sign of discomfort or grievance. With their external needs met, why would an individual leave when they have a good thing going?

4. Better performance

Better performance is the most beneficial and final benefit of flexible working. As employee engagement, efficiency, and output increases, so will performance results.

Improvements to a person’s work-life balance mean less stress and more rest. Employees will have more time to look after themselves, and consequently the quality of their work will increase.

For example, allowing employees to come into work for 8 am and leave at 4 pm enables them to fulfil their shift whilst beating rush-hour, avoiding 1 hour of dead time sat in traffic which can be spent at the gym, cooking dinner, or simply unwinding after a hard day at the office.

I’m sold, how can I get my employer to provide flexible working?

Under the Flexible Working Regulations Act 2014, all employees who have worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks are entitled to make a request for flexible working.

Although flexible working has traditionally been categorised a ‘working mum’ or parental benefit, legally flexible working benefits apply to all categories of staff whether disabled, a carer, or for those simply seeking a better work-life balance.

An employee must submit a written request to their employer to gain a flexible working arrangement. The employer must then provide a formal decision within 3 months, this, however, may be extended upon agreement with the employee. By law, Employers must deal with requests in a ‘reasonable manner’. An employer may reject the request if there is a ‘good business case’ for doing so.

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