Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, through flexible start and finish times. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously had a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, and the world of work has seen substantial changes. One of which is that there has been a significant increase in working from home initiatives.
There has been considerable research into the topic of how the pandemic has affected working life. According to numerous sources, prior to the pandemic around 15% of the UK’s workforce worked from home, however, since lockdown measure have been phased out, around 50% of the workforce still work from home at least some of the time. Attitudes towards flexible work are also changing since the pandemic, as research shows that around 60% of British workers say they would prefer to work remotely at least some of the time. This raises the question of whether people will ever return to the office at the same rate as prior to the pandemic?
Well it seems that the British public views would suggest that flexible work, in the form of working remotely, will continue beyond the pandemic. Studies show that around 70% feel that people will never return to the office at the same rate as prior to the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic may be everlasting in the form of flexible work, as attitudes are changing towards employee’s responsibilities outside of work, mental health and sustained productivity.
Offering flexible work strengthens an employee’s loyalty to a company which has the key benefits of improving employee retention which is vital to an organisation’s success. Through strengthening employee loyalty, costs can also be reduced for hiring new individuals into roles, not only this but the company culture can be enhanced. This can have the knock-on effect of increasing job satisfaction and reducing sickness absence.
Promoting a happier and more loyal workforce forms the key foundation of a productive team. Remote workers may be more inclined to spend further hours working, in comparison to in-office employees, as research on the topic suggest that, on average, remote workers spend up to 1.5 more days per month working. Providing this flexible environment allows managers to more accurately evaluate employees on their actual productivity, rather than just their presence and activity in-office. Some commentators on the topic suggest that a flexible environment may be the key in developing a results-orientated culture, enabling the business to thrive.
Offering flexible work will also allow employers to develop an image as an employer of choice. An employer of choice is very appealing to potential candidates when it comes to recruitment. It will help to improve the corporate culture and working environment, appealing to individuals who look for family-friendly work flexible work schedules.
Employees take advantage of any tools which can help reduce stress involved with their job. For many people, commuting can be one of the most stressful parts of the day due to traffic jams and unreliable travel options. Unnecessary stress may further contribute to poor mental health. Poor mental health could significantly reduce employee’s productivity, therefore, offering flexible work allows employee’s to manage their time efficiently and reduce the likelihood of developing stress-related mental health issues. Offering flexible work can then act as a good recruitment tool, as it may attract highly suitable individuals who manage their time efficiently and prioritise their mental health, as not offering flexibility may act as a deterrent for these candidates.
Offering flexible work can be a very influential selling point when it comes to recruitment. It may influence candidates to prioritise your company rather than an alternative option who do not offer any flexibility. Research shows that, alongside salary aspirations, flexible work is a very important consideration when looking at a career change. This was clearly reflected within our recent 2022 Salary Survey, which found that 65% of respondents find flexible working the most attractive benefit within a new job, increasing dramatically in comparison to previous salary surveys. Data shows that around 4 out of 5 businesses are already offering, or planning to offer, flexible schedules to their employees, highlighting the importance of offering flexible work in attracting top talent.
Although views may differ on offering flexible working, questioning the productivity of employee’s when ‘working from home’, it is clear to see that flexible work is a very important incentive to potential recruits. Trends suggest that flexible work will continue to be offered by employers at a higher rate to prior the pandemic, emphasising that employers against the idea of flexible work may have to conform to offering flexible work, otherwise candidates may chose alternative companies.
Flexible working has certainly become increasingly sought after in the world of FM as shown in our recent Salary Survey results. You can read more about this trend as well as the demographic makeup of the industry, levels of remuneration, working life, responsibilities, and career attitudes and motivations.
An update on the last 2 years from our Managing Director, Peter Forshaw https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1g8uqi5j8dhwc2/Update.mp4?raw=1 More Posts…
Our latest Salary Survey report delves into the FM sector, including the demographic makeup of the industry, levels of remuneration, working life, responsibilities, and career attitudes and motivations.
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