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How flexible working can benefit employees and employers

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The workplace has changed in many ways in the last few years, from embracing technology like never before through to welcoming more freelancers and contractors in a variety of industries. One of the most rapidly-rising trends is that of flexible working. Already this year we’ve seen the launch of a new campaign by the Flexible Working Task Force, which coincided with a CIPD report that reveals that while many people currently benefit from flexible working, a significant proportion of the workforce don’t yet have access to flexible conditions. It’s clear that there are still conversations to be had on the merits of flexible working, but the future is looking bright.

Benefits of flexible working for employees

The appeal of flexible working is strong across the UK, with 87% of full-time workers either currently working flexibly or saying they’d prefer to do so. And it’s clear why: Flexible workers are happier, spend more time with their families and are less stressed, according to a recent AAT study.

Despite such obvious benefits, part-time work accounts for just 16.5% of total employment across OECD countries and 51% of employees want their company to offer more flexible arrangements. Options such as telecommuting, flexible hours and generous PTO are significant contributors to a more positive work-life balance for employees at all stages of employment and their lives. Parents are particularly impacted by flexible working, with 84% of them saying it’s the most important factor in a job, with millennials also increasingly looking for flexibility when assessing career opportunities.

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Benefits of flexible working for employers

Employees who take advantage of flexible working opportunities can benefit the businesses in which they work, with flexible workers saying they work more effectively, productively and put in longer hours than when adhering to traditional office hours. In addition to potentially getting more out of employees when they’re working, businesses who offer flexible working also benefit from a more engaged, committed workforce. One of the top reasons for employees saying they are unlikely to look for a new job outside of their organisation is because of the workplace flexibility currently being offered to them.

Flexible working can be a significant factor in a company’s employer value proposition and brand, as it shows the business cares about its employees and values them as independent people. Employers who allow flexible working are putting trust and faith in their employees to utilise these conditions responsibly, allowing for more autonomy across the team. While there are perceived risks that come with introducing more flexibility, most employees will work hard to prove themselves and make the most of this opportunity.

Flexible working at IDEX 

Michelle Paish, Business Manager at IDEX, has been with IDEX for 12 years. In that time, she’s taken maternity leave before returning initially to a three-day and then more recently a four-day working week. Having the option to work from home on one of these days each week, Michelle says the situation gives her so much flexibility and work-life balance that makes not just work, but her life much easier.

As a recruitment expert, Michelle has seen flexible working rise in popularity in recent years, however; “Companies don’t necessarily advertise for part-time or flexible roles, but when we present them with an excellent candidate who may need some degree of flexibility, they’re generally very open to it”.

Michelle says she feels fortunate to have the ability to work from home, and as such works harder to ensure her employers know she’s making the most of her time and the opportunity. She says this personal insight has made it easier for her to sell candidates who may require flexible conditions to clients:

Because I am a part time working mum myself, I can relate more to other mums and am not afraid to ask clients about flexible conditions or the potential to split roles into part-time or job share situations.  Technology means so many jobs can be done in different environments, and it’s definitely something the market is becoming more open too.”

Make your next career move with IDEX

Whether you’re looking for a role that gives you more flexibility or simply want to move up in your chosen field, we can help you. Our team of industry experts can help you take the next step. View our latest jobs, read more industry insights or contact us to start a conversation.