Flexible working, also known as dynamic working, can be used to describe working patterns that suit an individuals needs. It is becoming more and more popular with a wide range of employees including graduates, who are starting to consider flexible working patterns as the norm rather than the exception.

Introducing flexible working benefits very much lends itself to positive HR and has been continually supported by the government, as they also see the benefits to both employers and employees. Consequently legislation around the right to apply for flexible working was extended to include all employees in 2014.

Flexible working can describe a variety of working patterns such as; part-time work, flexi-time, compressed hours, staggered hours, job sharing and home working or any other flexible arrangement. Basically, anything other than the standard full-time working hours.

You may advertise a role as part-time, so the employee is employed on a different working pattern, which suits the needs of the employer. However, an existing employee may also request flexible working for their own reasons; such as childcare, fitting in the school run, being able to continue their career whilst they raise young families, other commitments outside work or just simply because they would like flexibility around where and when they work. All eligible employees have the right to request flexible working and if they do so, it’s important you ensure you are following the correct process when considering this.

Recruiting good talent is a continual challenge for all businesses, so flexible working can differentiate you from your competitors, as a significant proportion of people really value flexible working and see it as a value added perk. Consequently, this may widen your talent pool in terms of more candidates being interested in the role, as it meets their own personal needs.  We have seen this recently with some of our clients and it enabled them hire candidates from further afield, who otherwise would have discounted the role. 

In addition CIPD research has proven benefits of increased employee engagement and retention of your existing employees ultimately keeping hold of your best employees! We all know recruitment can be a costly business, so the more you can do to attract and retain your best employees, the better it is financially. Furthermore, flexibility can be more valuable to an employee over and above remuneration, so can be even more cost effective to an employer.

For employees, flexible working encourages a culture of good work-life balance and recognises that individuals have different needs both inside and outside work. With employee mental health and well-being at the top of everyone’s agenda, flexible working can really add value to the general well-being of your team, leading to increased employee retention as well as reduced absenteeism. Additionally, employees often feel more trusted and motivated and likely to go that extra mile that they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

As technology continues to develop, it creates more and more opportunity for flexible working options.  Employees can be constantly mobile with laptops and phones and conference call and video conference facilities mean it is possible to attend meetings without physically being in the office. If you don’t already offer it, it’s really worth asking yourself the question, can flexible working work for my business and if so how?  Of course, flexible working doesn’t work for all companies and to work effectively it does need to work for both employer and employee and both need to see its value. 

If you would like to discuss further how flexible working could work for your team, how you could launch it and how it could benefit you then please get in touch today.