Virgin’s introduction of an unlimited leave policy certainly got the world talking and truth be told got businesses worried that employees across the world would expect this. Opinions have been divided on how this can actually be implemented however employers are regularly facing the challenge of flexible working both in order to retain staff but also to attract new employees.
Over 77% of UK workers state that flexible working is very important to them to ensure a work life balance can be achieved. Companies who have committed to flexible working focus more on what their employees get done rather than how many hours or days they had put in.
More and more employers on a smaller and local level are having to look at ways to allow employees to get the benefit of flexible working. This can be done in a number of ways such as ditching the regular 9-5 and freeing up arrival and departure times. Other ways include providing caregiving leave which can reduce stress levels at a time when a family member may be sick. Remote working also allows employees the freedom to work from locations outside the office. Advance in technology also make it much more feasible to work from anywhere. Employers who allow their employees more flexibility are witnessing an improvement to staff productivity.
Yet some employers may still be wary of flexible working. Traditionally, many employers and employees deem the most valuable workers those that were ever present. The first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at night was the most acknowledged, or deemed the hardest working, regardless of productivity. Moving away from this culture can only be a positive thing. One of the reasons some employers may not be happy to offer flexible working to staff is simply that they do not trust them to have the motivation and discipline to work if they are not under the boss’ glare. That’s why it is crucial to employ the correct individuals at the recruitment stage. If you employ highly skilled, talented and motivated individuals, then it goes without saying that these employees will make a valuable contribution regardless of their working environment.
In todays market flexible working is more expected rather than earned. There is never a one size fits all solution for flexible working, it obviously depends on the job, the company and the individual but as with all good deals, both parties must derive benefits otherwise there’s no point to the arrangement.