Flexible working is the business benefit at the top of almost every employee’s wish list. From potential candidates to long-term employees, juniors to executives, flexible working is the job benefit of choice. It has become so popular, that some HR experts are heralding the death of the typical 9 to 5 working day. But what makes it so popular and are there any real benefits to be gained?
Here are some of the benefits of working remotely and the impact they could have on your workforce, team productivity and company morale.
The benefits of flexible working and remote working
1. Increased productivity
The advantages of remote working are beneficial for businesses as well as employees — most notably, in the form of increased productivity. A study on remote working has found that 77% of employees felt more productive when they were allowed to work remotely. A further 30% said that, compared to working in the office, they could do more in less time when working from home. Hence the need to consider flexible working hours as one of the biggest advantages of remote working.
By allowing flexible working hours, employers are also free to introduce agile working in the form of staggered hours and alternative shift patterns to become more ‘available’ to customers, even outside of business working hours.
2. Reduces stress and burnout
A recent Labour Force Survey from Health and Safety Executive shows that over a 12-month period, 15,000,000 days were lost to mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety, all caused (or worsened) by work. This makes the offer of flexible working hours, telecommuting or remote working crucial to employee wellbeing.
TUC secretary general, Frances O’Grady, told HR Review: “It’s in no-one’s interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off.”
3. Promotes a healthy work-life balance
The introduction of flexible working strategies is an excellent way to help promote a healthy work-life balance in employees. A report by CIPD revealed that 20% of working people are stressed by family relationships and 19% by the conflict between home and family life. In contrast to this, over half (54%) felt flexible working was a good way for them to achieve a better work-life balance. The benefits of working remotely allow them to switch off or enjoy more time with the family, thereby limiting stress, dissatisfaction and burnout.
4. Better job satisfaction
The benefits of working remotely also include better job satisfaction for employees. HR Policy Adviser at the London School of Economics (LSE), Natalie Pancheri, told The Guardian: “The benefits of flexible working are well established, from increased employee engagement to better performance.”
Our research into work benefits for top performers showed that flexible working hours were being offered to 42% of employees and 29% were offered remote working.
5. Flexible working attracts top talent
The benefits of working remotely also include talent acquisition. According to our research, 39% of UK businesses use it to attract top-performing talent and it was identified as a key initiative.
Not only this, flexible working hours can also help improve talent retention because staff are more satisfied overall. A study by Global Workplace Analytics found that 95% of employers saw an improvement in employee retention rates once a remote working environment had been successfully implemented.
Implementing flexible working
Now that you’re well versed in the advantages of remote working and the offer of flexible working hours, it’s helpful to cover practical ways of implementing them.
How to implement flexible working within your business
A degree of technology may be needed in order to offer remote working to staff — you’ll need to be able to contact them throughout the day while they’re at home. This can be achieved through basic means, such as email, telecommuting or via an instant messaging app or platform. Some companies may also choose to use project management software with digital ticketing systems which make job progress tracking and communication more effective.
Flexible working can be offered through something as simple as allowing staff to shift their working day by a few hours, either by coming in early and finishing early or vice versa. Some staff may even prefer to work from home at the weekend rather than a weekday. Expectations and guidelines surrounding this can be outlined in employee contracts.
Are you wanting to reassess your employee salary and benefits package? For the latest industry insights, Access Robert Half Salary Guide and gain clear advice on how to implement flexible working into your employee benefits package. For more information, get in touch with the Robert Half team.