The Benefits of Flexible Working
The house is quiet. The sun is coming up and I have a hot mug of coffee, radio on, ready to start work. Muve Media & Marketing offers flexible working. This means I can work some core hours for key meetings and calls and then work the other hours each week to suit my needs. I can take advantage of a quiet start to the day. I can also have a peaceful and productive hour of writing or designing social posts before the chaos of the school run begins. Later on, I can pick up my daughter and take her to a swimming lesson, the park, or whatever we fancy, and I can pop back on my laptop to finish off an article or check emails in the evening once she is asleep. My workday works around my life and my family meaning I can do the best I can at both, which I really enjoy. These are just some of the benefits of flexible working. I’m very lucky to have a job I love that also enables me to have an amazing work/life balance.
But enough about me – what does flexible working mean for you, employers, and the UK economy? You may have heard of Mother Pukka’s campaign on ‘Flex Appeal’. She shouts about the serious gains to be made by more companies taking a flexible approach. Her report ‘Flexonomics‘ in partnership with Robert McAlpine forecasts that a 50% increase in current flexible working rates could result in a net economic gain of £55bn. This is alongside the creation of 51,200 new jobs. As well as the piles of potential profit, it would mean a more inclusive workforce, a reduction in absenteeism and improved staff retention. It offers a solution to the unsolvable sum faced by all working parents. That is how to cover 12 weeks of school holidays with 5.6 average weeks of holiday from work. This means that employers can cherry pick the very best talent for a role. It also means employees can have a better work/life balance. It opens up roles that otherwise would have excluded those with caring responsibilities, or home working requirements and makes the workplace a more diverse and accessible place. All positive changes much needed with the impending cost of living crisis on the horizon.
Pros and Cons
Naysayers may criticise flexible or agile working. They say that employees don’t work as hard, but from personal experience I would not agree! It can be a much more productive day when you’re not arriving after a 90 minute commute. Employees are much more likely to go the extra mile out of work time when they are loyal to their employer. A second criticism is that newer staff may miss out on social aspects and the learning that comes from sitting side by side with someone as you work together. But flexible working doesn’t mean you never see a colleague in person. In fact, a mix of in person and home working is best and face to face interaction is very valuable in certain situations. A blended approach is a great benefit of flexible working. With some meetings or days in a communal space and some at home. I have found that I’m a lot more productive and happy at work if there are no worries about making that parents evening, school play or sports day. And I’m a much happier parent if I get to see all those events!
As more companies begin to look at making their roles more inclusive, it seems the future is flexible. There is definitely many benefits of flexible working. And with rewards for employees, business owners and the wider UK economy this can only be a good thing.
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