Flexible working is a win-win scenario for both businesses and employees. If you want to work flexibly, knowing the benefits to the business can be a key factor in supporting your flexible working application. In this article, we outline the key benefits of working flexibly for organisations so you can use them to support your application.
Organisations have a huge amount to gain by promoting and extending the use of flexible working to all employees. We have detailed four key areas below that you can share with your organisation.
Flexible Working Reduces Attrition
Let’s begin by looking at the benefits to the business of retaining those who choose to work flexibly, or who can no longer work full-time.
- gives the organisation the opportunity to retain the intellectual capital, cultural experience, internal network, and business acumen that would otherwise be lost if the person left;
- reduces the cost of finding a new person for that role. Talent retention in modern business is hugely strategic and managing to retain talent is a Key Performance Indicator for many organisations;
- Investment banking companies pay between 18% and 20% more for external hires compared to the cost of promoting internally for similar positions. Job sharing would allow two people to move internally and apply for a single role. Flexible working provides more opportunities to move internally and reduce the business costs of external recruitment;
- provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses to reduce their attrition rate. People’s circumstances change, but full-time employment doesn’t recognise this. Flexible working gives businesses a platform for supporting its employees to continue to be productive while also recognising that life can take a variety of paths;
- allows greater flexibility, selecting from a much larger talent pool can support diversity in the workforce.
Flexible Working Supports Companies to Improve Diversity & Inclusion in the Workforce
Diversity and inclusion is a key objective on most business agendas due to changes in consumer and employee expectations and, in some cases, oversight from Government and industry bodies. As an example, the British Film Institute publicly released the following targets:
- A 50-50 gender balance in supported filmmakers;
- 20% target for those identifying as belonging to an under-represented ethnic group;
- 10% target for those identifying as LGBTQ+;
- 7% target for those identifying as D/deaf and disabled.
Setting such targets demonstrates an organisational commitment to the diversity and inclusion objectives as well as attracts talent. Flexible working, and particularly Job sharing, allows companies to attract staff from a wide group of qualified individuals, which can – along with other measures – help to improve diversity in the workforce.
Having a job-sharing programme as part of the recruitment strategy is a unique selling point in its own right. It supports the talent strategy, and the diversity and inclusion agenda. The modern workforce wants to work flexibly and being able to tell your client markets about your working practices presents a great opportunity to demonstrate your corporate values.
Working Flexibly Improves Productivity in the Workplace
Diversity and Inclusion is one key organisational objective. Another is lost hours due to sickness.
Lost hours due to sickness is a challenge for all businesses. The Health and Safety Executive of the UK Government states that 26.8m working days were lost due to work-related ill health. Of this 26.8m, 15.4m was related to Stress, depression or anxiety.
Job sharing and flexible working can help reduce stress at work. Those who work flexibly are less likely to report feelings of excessive pressure and 44% of employees say flexible working would help them feel less stressed.
Flexible Working Improves Employee Satisfaction
Many companies conduct surveys to understand how satisfied their workforce is and flexible working has a significant impact on employee satisfaction. For example, the CIPD state that two thirds of flexible workers described themselves as satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance in contrast with under 50% for those who did not work flexibly.
Employee satisfaction is about people having a level of engagement with the work they are performing. It is directly linked to motivation and their ability to achieve their goals. Factors that contribute to this include: being treated with respect; feeling empowered; being part of a team and knowing their role; receiving recognition for their efforts; receiving perks; engaging in activities and; being clear of what is expected of them.
Organisations who have a work flexibly mindset are seen to support employees with opportunities to adapt how they would like to work and empower them to find work/ life satisfaction.
The benefits to businesses formally supporting flexible work are significant and should be viewed as a business strategy that improves lives for employees and helps the business retain top talent in a competitive marketplace.
Flexible working is a tool organisations can use to support their strategy. So when you are asking to work flexibly, share these organisational benefits with the business and with your manager. It might just be the information they need to understand the wider benefits of supporting more people working flexibly.