This week, on October 10th we celebrated #WorldMentalHealthday 2018. In a world where we are now talking openly about mental health and the importance of work-life balance, it’s an important consideration all businesses must give thought too. This week, we look at how flexible working can impact on small business growth.
Over the last decade technology advances have provided people with the ability to be continually accessible, whether that’s a good or bad thing, in the work environment this has led to a change in the way we work and where we now work from.
Flexible working means that you offer your employees the opportunity to choose what hours they work and/or where they work from. Due to the nature of certain businesses, not all are able to offer this for obvious reasons. Where possible, and with the right technology in place, it is becoming increasingly popular for employees in the UK. It is a policy that we adopt at Kemp Marketing, where 75% of our team are working parents.
Research Shows The Importance Employees Place on Flexibility
Research produced by Timewise in September 2017 suggests that many employers now offer flexible working with more than 6 in 10 full-time employees (63%) already accessing flexible working.
Technology has enabled the rise of remote workers in recent years; the TUC estimates the number of people working from home in the UK now stands at 1.5 million. The research shows remote working employees believe they are more motivated and more productive when working from home.
Research on the Future of Work, undertaken by Grass Roots Group, surveyed 1000 employees aged 18+ on which workplace benefits are most likely to be most important to them in the future:
- The ability to work flexibly topped the list, with almost half of employees (49%) hoping to achieve an improved work/life balance in the future.
- Working from home was the third most popular workplace benefit, with 43% of those surveyed claiming they’d like the opportunity to work at home in the future. (Team building experiences featured second, 46% considering away days and nights out are important).
- The research reveals that by 2025 the most coveted employee benefit will be flexible working.
- Workers consider work-life balance the most important perk the workplace can offer.
Stephen Holt, commercial director at Grass Roots said: “It’s clear that the workforce is keen to move away from the 9-5 culture as they don’t want to be chained to a desk every day and instead move towards being able to work in a way that better suits their home life.”
Why Offer Flexible Working?
Firstly, it’s a legal requirement. The law states that you must consider 1 flexible working request a year, from anyone who has worked for your business for 6 months.
Flexible working makes your business an appealing place to work, enabling you to attract the best talent and retain staff.
Embracing a work-life balance culture allows you to tap in to another under-utilised, but extremely skilled community - parents looking to return to work after having children. With the cost of child care so high, returning to work for some mothers and fathers is not viable. This group have a lot of offer, not only their qualifications and previous experience, they now have the skills to multi task and juggle. Offering roles with flexible hours, or indeed that work with school hours, could be very appealing.
Mental Health problems are something many of us experience in our lives. Whether we suffer from stress or depression ourselves or are caring for someone with mental health illness, it can be a huge strain on our lives. If able, work can often be a great release. The importance of some flexibility, however, is absolutely key!
A study, that took place in Sweden, trialled a six-hour working day as part of a money saving exercise. During the six-month trial, staff were off sick less often and workers reported having more energy and less stress.
A happy, healthy workforce have huge impact on employee morale, thus making them more productive in the long run.
What It Could Mean for Business Growth
Offering flexible hours and environments opens the doors for your business to be able to tap in to a whole new talent pool, reap the benefits of attracting the best talent and retaining valuable staff.
All the research is pointing to employees feeling more motivated and more productive when trusted to have flexibility over their working practises.
Flexible working allows your staff to achieve a good ‘work-life balance’. Time to pursue their passions and other hobbies, to spend time with their family, caring for others and manage their home life. Enabling staff to be fulfilled and happy.
So, let’s #flextober this month!