With the new norm comes new working environments. Gone is the traditional ‘9 to 5’ and, in it’s place, a more flexible approach to our working life.
Mental health charities have been putting forward the idea of flexible working for some time to stem the national mental health crisis.
Before the pandemic, we were a nation of stressed-out British workers who worked much longer hours than our mediteranean neighbours, and have done for some time!
THE BIG WORK SURVEY
The Big Work Survey of 2,011 UK working adults and 520 senior decision makers across Great Britain found businesses could be storing up ‘bigger problems down the line’ because 64% of us admit to being stressed at work.
The research also found that 82% of employees had worked over their contractual hours in the last 12 months with nearly half of us (46%) eating our lunch at our desk and 54% taking no break, apart from lunch, on a typical day all adding up to a nation of stressed-out workers.
Now really is the time to consider flexible working within your company to boost your productivity…
Running on Empty
With stress-related illnesses linked to the working environment on the increase isn’t it time you considered whether your team are literally running on empty?
Throw into the mix a nation gripped by a pandemic, and you may have a very under whelmed and under productive workforce.
By considering the work-life balance of your employees, you are more likely to sustain a happier and more productive team.
Is it time to reevaluate the productivity or your team or workforce?
As a small business owner, you may not notice a decline straight away in the efficiency of your team until it is too late.
With some workers still working from home, you can’t rely on Zoom or even office hook-ups to motivate and re-engage your team!
A whopping 70% of workers say that being offered flexible working hours makes a job more attractive to them.
Retaining a good team after furlough is essential to any small business. It reduces essential training and settling in times and will ultimately reduce your recruitment costs.
Think about job share and other flexible elements like shorter days. This could allow you to retain the same brain-power at the same cost and reduce the need for redundancy.
Most small businesses will suffer from ‘sick day’s and other absences sporadically. The more unhappy your team, the more absences increase.
There is now the issue of track and trace, which could leave large holes in your workforce especially if you are running a busy production site or factory floor.
With flexible working, you can allow employees to ‘make up’ time, continue their productivity and grow your business successfully.
You can also lean on your temporary recruitment partners who can quickly and effectively supply skilled and qualified workers to stem any gap and even boost your productivity.
Who doesn’t want their employees to shout out about how much they love working for your Company.
High morale, happy workers and good engagement provide a very positive Company image which also feeds into the retention and recruitment factor!
If your business is picking up but you are reluctant to take on more staff. Rather than pile all the pressure on your existing employed personnel, let a temporary recruitment team support you with short and long term placements to allow you to successfully continue to build back up your business without any negative experiences from your existing personnel.
When an employee feels their needs are heard and catered for it motivates, engages and boosts their productivity.
They become loyal and encourage others to be loyal through their positive outlook and work ethic which can only lead to continued business success.
Obviously, you want to encourage only the best talent to apply to work for your business.
According to Lloyds Bank research, around 43% of successful employees utilise a flexible working environment.
If you are not offering this, you could be missing out on top talent for your business!
How to make flexible time Work for your business
Thanks to the huge advancements in information technology and communications it is much easier for businesses to embrace some form of flexibility for their employees which can positively be deemed a perk or benefit of the job or Company!
So what are the opportunities that can be considered as flexible working to provide your employees a better work-life balance without affecting the efficiency of your business.
This is popular for employees who have a long commute or want to condense 40 hours into a 4 day week.
Extremely popular for London workers and easy to implement without affecting the productivity of the business.
This allows employees to alter their hours to better suit their needs but to continue to work a full time contract.
This works well for parents who need to be around during the day.
With the increased communication channels and conference call facilities employees can work agreed days of the week from a location of their choice.
A good solution for corporate office managers where their presence in the office isn’t always required.
The employee’s hours are worked out over a year. Employees are required to work a set number of hours over the year, but may be able to take prolonged time off to cover childcare commitments during the school holidays for example.
This is fairly common amongst seasonal providers like the Hospitality Sector.
A business may have a number of workers starting and finishing at different times, enabling the business to be operational over longer periods of time.
This works well for busy Call Centres and Manufacturing Companies.
This was popular in the 90’s in the City where Personal Assistants and Secretaries wanted to return from maternity leave part time.
It still is very popular in the office environment and works well for administrative roles.
Ultimately, flexible working arrangements will need to fit into your organisation’s strategic workforce plan. Candidates are more talented and have more power than ever before and the ongoing pressure to attract more professional people into your workforce can only cement the need for finding a flexible working strategy that works for your business!
You may think this is an impossible task but if you give this the time and thought associated with implementing any new strategy into your organisation and include both members of your management team and your workforce, you will find a solution that meets the needs of your business and your employees!