Flexible Working: What are the Pros and Cons?
No longer the preserve of freelancers, flexible working is now a very real alternative to the traditional desk-bound nine to five job. If all you need is a computer and an internet connection, it makes sense that we should work from locations that suit us, at hours that suit us. After all, if the work gets done on time and to a high standard, why does it matter where we do it?
Flexible working doesn’t just benefit employees, however, but businesses too. Studies show that workers who are offered the option of flexible working benefit businesses by taking less leave and working more productively. They also have an increased enthusiasm, loyalty and engagement for their job, and stay for longer as they feel more valued and trusted. Flexible working can even save money for both employees and employers: employees don’t need to spend cash commuting, while employers can save on the cost of overheads and put in place more economical systems such as hot-desking.
Employers who don’t offer some form of flexible working can suffer, as research shows three quarters of workers used to the freedom of flexibility are reluctant to take on new jobs with more rigid hours and locations. In fact, a recent study revealed that the UK could risk £12 billion a year in economic output if employers do not fully embrace flexibility.
Of course, there can be drawbacks to flexible working: employees may find their personal life and work life merging together at home, and find that they struggle to separate the two – although flexible working has been shown to benefit employees’ mental health. Employers can also worry about a lack of contact or awareness with their staff, though this can easily be overcome with modern tools such as Trello or Slack.
However, with the right support and structures in place, all the evidence points to one fact: flexible working offers huge benefits for both staff and bosses, and it’s an ever-growing trend that helps open-minded businesses attract and retain brilliant hires.