The case for a flexible working policy seems to be getting stronger by the day with HR professionals endorsing it as an effective means to enhance day to day productivity. Research conducted by the HR recruitment firm Ortus showed that 96% of people felt that it would optimise work levels and 59% believed that it would significantly impact productivity for the better.
The main function of the HR is to devise new ways by which they can get the best out of the workforce, to conceptualise strategies that will result in a more motivated and committed staff. The emphasis today is on the workforce – their happiness and wellbeing, rather than on intensifying work pressures and setting rigid deadlines. The results from the Ortus study imply that enabling employees to organise their work hours around their personal commitments would lead to a more contented and therefore more productive workforce. Thanks to modern technology, we have the tools needed to make possible the connectivity required to work virtually and it is this that we should leverage to foster an approach towards work that is friendlier and shows greater concern for the workforce.
Are organisations ready to implement the flexible working concept?
More than two-thirds of the HR professionals felt that their organisation would be open to making available flexible working arrangements for its employees, the major plus point being that there is little extra cost involved. As many as 9 out of 10 believe that flexible working is all set to become the leading “employment model” in the near future, although businesses would be more likely to adopt the policy more in view of its benefits to the organisation than to the workforce. Latest studies by RSA and Vodafone suggest that this new work culture could boost the UK economy by up to £8.1bn, which amounts to 0.5% of GDP.
However, they feel that there is some way to go before flexible working can become an established norm as both employers and employees need to get more familiar with this concept and believe in its viability. Although there are several organisations in the UK that do offer flexible work arrangements, as many as 13% of employees are still not aware that they can legally make a request for flexible working.
The verdict on flexible working
Another national survey conducted on 2,828 participants comprising of both employees and employers found that, if allowed to work flexibly, the workforce could save five hours per week from commuting which translates into £4,200 per employee per year. These are significant figures that can contribute to the efficiency and productivity of any business and make the shift to a more flexible work culture well worth it.
Adapting to work methods that show concern for employee welfare is certainly going to be the major factor contributing to employee performance and retention. The majority of those who have been fortunate to experience the convenience of a flexible working policy have affirmed that it has indeed heightened their productivity and boosted their levels of self-motivation.
In today’s profit materialistic, profit driven era, businesses cannot afford to ignore the well-being of its workforce if they seek long term success. Growth and progress can only be possible when the management and employees develop an ethos of mutual trust as against working with the carrot and stick approach. If organisations have to thrive, they can only do so by ensuring that the morale of their workforce remains high which in turn is possible only if they are happy and contented with their personal lives and family commitments. Enabling flexible working is the only way to achieve that all important balance that people seek to strike between their professional and personal lives that is so closely linked to performance and productivity.
Arise Virtual Solutions is the proud pioneer of homeworking, having successfully provided virtual business outsourcing and high quality contact centre services to reputed companies across the United States and United Kingdom/Ireland. Founded way back in 1997, Arise has been the forerunner of the concept of virtual working, aiming to steadily develop it into a worldwide trend which can play a pivotal role in ushering in a new era of hope and prosperity for both – the workforce and businesses.