Written by Laura Ann Thomas • Published 19th November 2013
It should come as no surprise that the way that we are working is changing. With smartphones, the cloud and on-the-go technology people are no longer confined to their desks and the ‘9 to 5’ is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. We now have more freedom when it comes to where, when and how we work and companies need to embrace this brave, new world of flexible working.
Improvements in communications and technology mean that employees don’t need to be in their office all day every day. They can access documents remotely and hold meetings via video conferencing while avoiding the dreaded commute and spending more time with their loved ones.
As well as cost savings on printing and desk space, flexible working can help employees achieve the elusive ‘work-life balance’ and improve staff satisfaction levels which will ultimately improve the retention of quality staff. So why aren’t all companies doing it?
Flexible working involves an element of trust and there has been some resistance to flexible working in the past. It can conjure up images of employees sitting at home in their pyjamas and watching daytime television (who can say no to Jeremy Kyle?) but statistics show that it really pays for businesses to be flexible.
For example, flexible working makes employees 39 percent more productive and these extra productive hours per week per employee can result in an impressive extra £4,200 profit per employee – you can’t argue with that!
Detractors will be quick to point out the cons flexible working such as feeling isolated or not being able to switch off from work. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you use a drop in workspace or hub, another option other than working from your kitchen table or coffee shop that allows you to work flexibly.
Hubs are great places to work remotely from and will provide you with different types of spaces to work in; areas for quiet focused individual work, spaces for casual or formal meetings and areas for social interaction. You can also meet interesting, like-minded people in these collaborative spaces and talk to them about business ideas or your business problems – a fresh pair of eyes, just like a change in location, can really do wonders for your working life.
The law on flexible working is changing and the government proposes to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees in 2014 so don’t be afraid to speak to your employer about this.
The working world is changing and we all need to be more flexible.