Posted by Robert Half on 31 October 2016
Allowing your employees to work from home might not be such a bad idea. Here’s why flexible working hours will benefit your business.
Do you prefer to have all your employees sat at their desks where you can micro-manage them or are you a macro-manager with a more relaxed management style? If your company remains committed to employees working at their desk, you could be missing out on several business benefits.
In the digital age, advances in technology have enabled employees to share files, communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects, without the added burden of a commute or distractions at work. It’s no longer the case that every employee needs to be in the office to be productive. In many cases, managers are actively encouraging their employees to take advantage of flexible working opportunities. Here are several key benefits:
1. Reduced costs
Hot-desking schemes are becoming increasingly popular, allowing employees to use communal seats and computers on the days they come into work. This gives businesses the opportunity to increase headcount without a larger office space.
2. Increased productivity
If an employee has the ability to work remotely from home, they save time on commute, meaning they may be inclined to start work earlier and finish later. Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of HR directors have seen an increase in work productivity, further demonstrating the business benefits of flexible working. Conscious of the need to prove they can work effectively from home, and justify the arrangement, many employees work harder than ever to deliver results. The morale boost gained from improving their work-life balance can result in increased employee productivity and performance.
3. Increased creativity
Happy, motivated employees – those who are grateful for the chance to work flexibly – may be more inclined to engage with their organisation and make a valuable contribution. Working in a different way can encourage professionals to ‘think outside the box’ and be more innovative. Some employees may become more actively involved when they come into the office, and are more willing to offer up creative ideas. These could relate to work processes, ongoing projects or general working culture.
4. Ease of management
If employees are eager to work flexibly, they will aim to cause as little disruption as possible, minimising the input needed from their manager. If employees can prove they are easy to manage on a non-standard shift, further flexible working opportunities may arise. In most cases, professionals simply get on with their work; they will be heard from when they need to collaborate with colleagues or managerial input is necessary.
5. Improved well-being
Employee well-being is a key concern for many managers as it impacts retention of key people. Offering flexible working to employees can boost morale and improve their physical and mental well-being. When staff members work from home, they are likely to be less tired and better rested, reducing the risks of fatigue, burnout and stress that can be the result of a toxic workplace culture.
6. Staff retention
Many employees view being offered flexible working opportunities as a sign they are valued by the company. Those who have other responsibilities or out-of-work interests may see flexible working as an absolute must or a deal-breaker for any organization they work for. The business benefit from offering flexible working is that it may assist retention efforts.
7. Attracting talent
Some professionals actively look for jobs that will allow them to work flexibly. It could be that they have childcare responsibilities or voluntary commitments, and are looking to achieve a better work-life balance. Offering flexible working opportunities can allow employers to recruit talented candidates who would otherwise have been out of their reach.
Should you offer employees a flexible working hours?
In terms of flexible working hours, the potential advantages for employees are well-known – including an improved work-life balance, greater autonomy and improved morale. But it’s important for employers to recognise the business benefits of flexible working programs too. It’s not just staff members who stand to gain from such initiatives, as organisations can reduce costs, improve output and increase loyalty when schemes are implemented in the right way. When flexible working is used appropriately with the necessary level of buy-in from both employers and employees, it can be to everyone’s advantage.