Why you should support flexible working

Over recent years we’ve seen a big shift in the way in which people work.
In the past, flexible working has been largely focused on working mothers,
and balancing parental life with working life continues to be a big issue.
According to an annual survey conducted by workingmums.co.uk, the lack of
flexible working options, along with childcare costs, still prevent
mothers from returning to work. Their survey showed 18% of mothers had
been forced to leave their work when flexible working was not allowed.
Embedding a culture of flexibility begins to chip away at the types of
issues that can prevent women from advancing their careers, as well as
making sure that this becomes the norm rather than ‘special treatment’.

Whilst childcare is widely known to hinder women’s careers, there’s also a
growing number of fathers who want more flexibility when it comes to
balancing work and childcare. It’s no longer only a problem for working
mothers. Enabling dads to work flexibly is crucial to greater workplace
equality.

It’s important to recognise that individuals have different needs both
inside and outside of work. Flexibility allows an increased feeling of
personal control over schedule and work environment. By allowing employees
to determine their own schedule and work environment, you respect that
each employee is different. Some work better in the morning and find that
their concentration and motivation tends to become depleted by the
afternoon, whereas other employees may work best from mid-morning to early
evening. Flexible working allows individual employees to play to their
strengths in order to ensure maximum productivity. It allows people to
work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working.

It’s not only employees who benefit from flexible working. Flexible
arrangements often benefit the company too. They can help to reduce
absenteeism, increase productivity and enhance employee engagement.
Offering staff flexible working options has an overwhelmingly positive
effect on recruitment and retention. Staff can often value flexibility
over other more traditional forms like remuneration, so there’s a positive
financial implication for employees. Younger employees are starting to
expect more flexible working arrangements as more and more companies are
embracing the change.

Technology makes it increasingly easier to work flexibly so it makes no
business sense not to offer it where possible. Most roles can accommodate
some sort of flexible working arrangement, so compromise from the employee
and the employer can often lead to an outcome that works for everyone.