The media is keen to report on the many benefits of flexible working for employees and the workforce in general, but not as much has been said on how flexible working benefits employers specifically.
However, the beauty of flexible working is that it’s a win-win situation for both employees and employers.
There are numerous advantages for employers and businesses as a whole when they adopt a hybrid work model into the workplace. In this post, we take a look at the top ten benefits of flexible working for employers
The primary benefits include:
- Happier Employees
- Lower Operating Costs
- Shorter Commutes
- Reduce Turnover
- Fewer Meetings
- Improve Transparency
- Hiring Female Talent
- Productivity Levels
- Improved Trust
Benefits Of Flexible Working For Businesses
1. Happier Employees
The primary benefit of flexible working for employers, is, without a doubt, happier employees.
A recent 2022 study of over 12,000 employees found that those who had the ability to work from home were, on average, 20% happier than those who didn’t.
The hybrid work model allows both office and remote workers more freedom and flexibility in their life that allows them to have a better work-life balance. They can fit their job around their life instead of the other way around, meaning they can pursue personal goals or spend more time with their family or friends.
However they choose to enjoy their newfound freedom, it always contributes to a happier, more satisfied employee who is going to perform better at work.
Not one study can deny that happier employees do a better job than unhappy ones. A study carried out by Warwick University found that, on average, happier employees are 12% more productive!
2. Lower Operating Costs
Another major advantage of the hybrid workplace is the lower operating costs. A benefit that all financial directors will be happy to hear.
Money can be saved in various areas of the business when introducing flexible working. The primary saving will be on real estate costs as most hybrid workplace models require fewer office desk spaces, so companies can rent smaller offices. Those smaller offices also mean lower operating and maintenance costs like office cleaning, electricity bills and office supplies.
If your organisation provides food and refreshments, then this is another area where employers can save money. Hybrid workplaces can help lower operating costs for businesses, especially logistics and infrastructure-related expenses.
That saved cash can then be reinvested back into a company, this would have a huge effect on smaller organisations where is money is tight, and is definitely something to be considered when weighing up the benefits of flexible working.
3. Shorter Commutes
Another obvious effect of hybrid work is the shorter commute times, but what is lesser known is the invaluable effect that a shorter commute can have on employees' satisfaction levels. The stereotypical image of a grey-faced millennial enduring rush hour traffic or battling the crowds on the underground is enough to put anyone off a commute! It therefore makes complete sense that the Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study found 52.9% of employees experience higher job satisfaction levels thanks to a reduced commute!
Flexible working models allow employers to cut down on time spent commuting, or they could choose to come into the office at different times of day, avoiding peak rush hour and speeding up the journey considerably.
That saved time can be spent on their own personal goals or socialising with friends, leading to higher job satisfaction levels.
4. Reduce Turnover
Figuring out how to solve attrition or churn in the workplace has always been a problem for employers. Yet flexible working offers a solution that keeps both employees and employers happy.
If companies want to hold on to their top talent then they need to be offering flexible working arrangements. Employees are more likely to stay loyal to an organisation, go the extra mile and even recommend their employer if they are given the option of flexible working in the workplace.
Reducing turnover would be a huge boost to any company, saving a lot of time and money spent on their current hiring processes.
5. Fewer In-Person Meetings
Before hybrid work models became commonplace, days were filled with poorly planned and often irrelevant in-person meetings.
Hybrid team members no longer have the luxury of being able to get up and just talk to their colleagues about any issue. Now that in-person time is scarce, meetings are often planned further in advance and they have a real agenda to them. Remote team members have to learn how to collaborate effectively with one another if they want to get work done.
Hybrid teams are being more intentional about the meetings they have which tend to be a lot more efficient and productive. If people have made the effort to schedule a meeting with other remote workers, then that time is going to be put to good use!
As well as getting more done in meetings, both employers and employees benefit from the reduction in meetings. The best Hybrid Teams are focused on reducing the overall amount of meetings they have, weather thats in-person or remote. That time that was once wasted in less effective meetings has now been put into getting productive work done, and team members are free to work on their actual jobs!
6. More Transparency
In a traditional office-based company, there is often a toxic emphasis placed on presenteeism. Those employees who spent more time at their desks were more likely to be rewarded, often unfairly, for their effort. Even though it’s all too easy to appear busy by sitting at a desk and typing furiously when managers walk past, it’s not a true indicator of an employee’s output.
Thanks to flexible working, employers are much more focused on how to measure performance based on output. Managers and employers are more focused on who is performing best because performance is being based on results.
Task-based hybrid working refers to how teams are now applying much more structure to their general work activities with collaborative task planning and workflows. Previously, only large projects or programms had task level planning applied to them. With more remote time, hybrid teams are providing visibility of their day to day work through task management.
Better structure around the work that teams perform has increased transparency and put a focus on output.
7. Hiring Female Talent
One of the huge perks of flexible working arrangements for employers is being able to take advantage of the incredible female talent pool. For too long, women, and primary caregivers, have been forced to narrow their career opportunities after starting a family due to care constraints.
Hybrid work models open up the possibility of allowing women to find a flexible working arrangement that allows them to contribute to an organisation whilst still taking care of their family.
Incredibly, the insurer Zurich UK saw a huge increase of 19.3% in applications from women for senior roles after including flexible working arrangements in job adverts. Employers looking to recruit the very best talent should be sure to advertise flexible working models in job descriptions.
8. Productivity Levels
The traditional 9-5 schedule did not allow for individuality in the workplace. Trying to force all workers into the same working patterns meant that people weren’t working to their natural strengths or tendencies.
For example, some individuals are morning people and like to work in the early morning whereas others are night owls, getting their best work done in the late night. Some companies are even introducing compressed hour models to allow people extra time off as long as the work gets done.
Flexible working hours embrace individual differences and let people work in a way that suits them. The personalised approach that flexible working arrangements brings has a positive impact on productivity, with many studies backing up the claim.
9. Improved Trust
The employee-employer relationship is hugely important to getting results in a company and in order for this relationship to thrive, there needs to be mutual trust and respect in place.
Flexible working forces employers with micromanager tendencies to take a step back and let their employees get on with their jobs. This, in turn, gives employees breathing space to develop and prove their own worth without overbearing managers watching their every move.
When employers see the results happening without the need for micromanaging, they will learn to trust team members more and give them a wider rein. Employees will appreciate the increase in autonomy from their employers. As a result, will become more loyal to the organisation and, you guessed it, experience higher job satisfaction.
Clearly, there are many benefits for businesses and employers if they choose to adopt a flexible working model.
Happier employees, increased productivity, higher levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover all make for the most convincing argument for all organisations to be seriously considering flexible working.
And it’s true, all organisations can create a healthier workplace by introducing flexible working, especially if they take the time to plan a hybrid workplace with the best practices to ensure the company thrives.
Graham Joyce is co-founder of DuoMe, a flexible working advocate and a frequent panellist/commentator on the issues of flexibility or hybrid working.