Ascendant Recruitment MD Nick Peacock discusses some of the benefits of flexible working…
As an employer, I try to think of my employees as my customers. Like my customers, I want them to be happy. When an employee is happy and motivated in their job, they tend to be more likely to deliver an excellent service to their customers. According to The Office for National Statistics figures, in 2015 UK workforces are 31% less productive than those of the US and 17% less productive than the rest of the G7 countries. This is despite UK working hours being similar to those in the other countries. This week I came across a report from Red Letter Days for Business called ‘What’s killing UK productivity’. As you’d expect from the title, the report explores the various factors that are contributing to our lack of productivity.
One of the most surprising findings of the survey is that the employees who are highly engaged (48%) are actually more likely to be found doing personal tasks at work such as checking social media accounts and doing online shopping, than those with low engagement.
Yet despite highly engaged staff spending more time on personal activities, the survey findings suggest that when they do sit down to work they are more focused and have a better output. They are also much more likely to work overtime every single day compared to half of low engaged employees who said they don’t work any overtime.
Days of the week and time of day were also found to impact on staff productivity, with Monday morning being the most productive time of day for both groups and Thursday being the least. 10% of people also said they worked over the weekend.
So what can we learn from this?
Offering flexible working options can enable you to keep staff productivity levels high and help you attract the best staff. While it might not always be a suitable option for every employee in every business, it’s worth keeping in mind there are many business benefits to flexible working. Here are just a few:
Increased responsiveness: Technology allows us to work more flexibly than ever before. Having employees who can work from anywhere and anytime and who aren’t tied to their desks means businesses can be more responsive.
Attracting more talent: Studies show it’s not just working parents who benefit from working flexibility. A survey earlier this year by Ernst and Young showed that more than any other generations, millennials want flexibility in terms of where and how they work and are the most willing to take a pay cut, pass up a promotion, or even relocate to manage work-life demands better. By offering greater flexibility, your company will attract a wider pool of talent.
Higher levels of staff retention: Companies who offer flexible working also can often enjoy higher levels of staff retention as the flexibility can promote a greater feeling of work/life balance and job satisfaction.
Improved customer service: By allowing staff to work flexibly, you’re creating an environment where it’s possible to increase response times and offer your customers an improved customer service.
In conclusion, work takes up a significant part of our life- it’s important that we enjoy it! Employers who offer trust and flexibility to their employees are more likely to be rewarded with staff who are highly engaged, work harder and are more productive – bringing huge benefits for your business.