All too often when new terms enter the cultural dictionary, people tend to throw them about with little consideration for what they actually mean. Things with slightly different definitions being conflated and confused with each other like flexible and remote working. Fact is, just because you’re working remotely, doesn’t mean you’re flexible.

Remote isn’t always “flexible”

The shift to working from home may have allowed many of us to take advantage of the benefits of flexible working, but until we realise that they aren’t the same thing people are always going to be left behind. Many of us are now working longer hours than ever before, creating higher rates of burnout, stress and loneliness.

THE STATISTICS

  • 7 million full-time workers now say they want to work flexibly.
  • 54% of the working population are already in a part-time or flexible role.
  • Yet only 9.8% of jobs are advertised as flexible at the hiring stage.

Why embracing real flexible working has all sorts of benefits

1. A boost in productivity

Giving people the choice of WFH or the office can be hugely beneficial. A recent study on remote working found 77% of employees felt more productive when they were allowed to work remotely some of the time, key word “some.” So much of flexibility is about personal choice, so if employers can introduce agile working in the form of staggered hours and alternative shift patterns, they can reap these benefits.

2. A better work-life balance

Flexible working strategies are a great way to help promote a healthy work-life balance in employees. A recent CIPD report showed over half (54%) felt flexible working was a good way for them to achieve a better work-life balance, allowing them to switch off or enjoy more time with the family, thereby limiting stress, dissatisfaction and burnout.

3. Improved job satisfaction

The benefits of flexible working are well established, from increased employee engagement to better performance. Currently 7 million full-time workers say they would be more satisfied with flexible working, but only 9.8% of jobs are advertised as flexible at the hiring stage. If employers can take advantage of this, they could be attracting and retaining better talent.

How do I bring flexible working into my business?

By embracing the moment! Flexible working should be seen as an exciting development, one that will spark all sorts of innovations and behaviour changes amongst employees.

Where do I begin?

Best place to start is with technology. This can be basic: email, telecommuting or Slack platforms, but other companies may wish to use more sophisticated software with digital ticketing systems which make job progress tracking and communication more effective.

What are the sticking points?

Remember, technology isn’t everything. It’s just the tool, you also need to strike the right tone. Flexible working can be as simple as allowing staff to shift their working day by a few hours, either by coming in early or finishing early. Some may even prefer to work at the weekend, all you need to do is build a company culture where it’s possible.

Interested in flexible working? A great place to find out more is The Cymphony Guide to flexible working which can be downloaded from our website. 

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