Many small employers are finding they are getting more requests from a variety of staff members to reduce hours, work from home, or for other flexible working arrangements.
Whilst these can seem to be initially a bit of a headache, the good news is that if you can agree flexible working requests, there are some serious business benefits. Here are some of them…
Employers who are flexible and encourage a good work/life balance are sought out by job hunters and are more successful at attracting talent to their business. By demonstrating that you are open to considering reduced hours, homeworking or similar, you are widening the field and ensuring that talented, committed individuals who are looking for a good work life balance are not ruled out.
Allowing flexible working can help you retain good staff who might otherwise feel they need to look elsewhere, as their personal circumstances change and develop. Losing valuable employees because you only want them full time seems short-sighted when you think of that knowledge and experience, and of the difficulty and expense of recruiting replacements.
Staff working in an environment where work-life balance is promoted and for an employer who has an open mind about flexible working arrangements feel more empowered and valued, and are accordingly more motivated, committed and loyal.
Productivity and efficiency
Flexible working can have a significant impact on productivity and efficiency in your business. Many employees work far more effectively when at home, for example. Staff who want to reduce the hours in their job frequently become much more efficient in order to manage this, and sometimes come up with other time-saving or efficiency measures to facilitate their desired arrangement.
Allowing working from home or flexible hours arrangements can reduce absenteeism in your business as it enables staff to cope better with the demands of family life that can impact on attendance at work. This is particularly true if you can allow working from home on an ad hoc basis, or can allow staff to vary their hours temporarily, and, say, change their day off at short notice if they need to.
Something which is frequently overlooked is the cost-saving opportunity presented by flexible working arrangements. If you have several staff who are not in the office full time, you may decide you don’t need to provide them all with permanent desks, and can save on office space by using a hot desking arrangement. Also, staff reducing their hours (unless it is a job share arrangement) usually reduce their salary by the proportionate amount, and as long as the work can be managed in shorter hours, this obviously reduces your overall salary bill.
It’s important not to be short-sighted, and if you can agree requests where possible, and ideally create a culture in your small business where flexible working is fully encouraged and support, it can really pay dividends and improve your bottom line in several ways.
If you’d like to further advice on why flexible working is good for your business, do get in touch.