How Being Flexible Can Help Boost Profits
You’ll probably have read and heard quite a bit about the trend for businesses to embrace flexibility and how it’s doing all manner of wonderful things for employee wellbeing. However, it’s not just the morale of staff that’s being given a boost by less strict regimes; there’s evidence to suggest that such models are helping employers to maximise the output of their business and, therefore, their profits.
A change in society
Whether your sector traditionally lends itself well to it or not, the fact is that the 9 to 5 model is becoming a thing of the past. People have more commitments than ever before. They’re dealing with contacts in different time zones, they’re working on side-projects and, most notably, societal change means more people are relocating for work, leaving them with no strong network of family and friends to help with childcare. Not only that, but both parents tend to have full-time jobs now, with the traditional ‘stay at home mum’ archetype being banished to the dark ages.
In response, many companies are abandoning clock-watching and handing over the responsibility of time fulfilment to their employees, no matter at what time of day or week – or where – they carry out their duties. Employees are also backed by the government in their quest for flexibility. UK employment law has been enhanced to promote more amenable work schedules, with all employees now having the legal right to request them.
The effect on productivity
In a huge global survey of 8,000 employers and employees by Vodafone, an overwhelming majority – 83 per cent – said that adopting flexible working had resulted in heightened productivity. Greater efficiency means greater income, a notion that was corroborated by the findings – 61 per cent said that flexible working had helped to increase company profits.
Obviously, for the most part the adoption of flexible working has been in reaction to changing home life schedules, but there could be merit in offering it to employees proactively. We all know that different people are more productive at different times of the day and in different environments. For some, logging on at 7pm for a few hours’ work at home is ideal. For early birds, a stint at the crack of dawn with a longer break in the middle of the day might be conducive to better results. Flexible working has also been shown, unsurprisingly, to improve employees’ attitude towards work – and a happy workforce can lead to a reduction in sickness and absence, meaning more days spent doing what matters most for your business: making money.