We need to talk about my child’s sports day, Mr/Mrs Boss.
The cost of living over the last ten years or so has required most parents across the UK to have to go to work while simultaneously juggling childcare and family life in order to achieve any standard of living.
For parents in this position, challenges and curveballs are a regular occurrence but it’s still difficult to find employers who are open-minded enough to provide flexible working.
The topic of flexible working always provokes a big debate - you only have to take a look at social media or the news to see this. For some employers, they believe that flexible working means that employees will work fewer hours and that they will not be as productive as full-time members of staff in the same role. As a result, they believe that implementing a flexible work policy may threaten the viability of their business or restrict its potential for growth. In addition, employers are also often fearful of how other staff may view those that are offered flexibility and they may worry that there is the potential for workplace division.
There are several ways that you can offer flexibility to your employees -
Adjust the start and finish times of the working day
Typically, a business’s opening hours are 9am-5pm/5.30pm however it is often the case that the customers of your business are reachable at other times especially on a morning. You could consider offering an earlier start time and an earlier finish time so that a parent can be there for the school run but so that they still complete their contracted hours each week.
If you can access what you need for your job online, then the location you access it from is surely irrelevant. Commuting to your place of work may add 10 hours or more to a staff member’s working week not to mention the general stress of traffic or issues on public transport. By not having this every day, or even on some days will mean employees will be relaxed, focused and motivated to tackle the work ahead.
If you have a role within your business which traditionally would require a full-timer, you can break it up and employ two part-time employees to share the role. Many employees can only work part-time so introducing job sharing to your company enables employers to access the talent from those employees who can only work part time
If an employee needs time off for their child or for something else, you could allow them to make up the time by starting a little earlier each day or finishing later.
Allowing this flexibility for your employees will create a motivated and committed team who can strike a balance between work life and home life. Phrases such as “first in and last out” being used by management teams to measure a person’s commitment or success is outdated and short-sighted.
What if someone could achieve the same results when working less hours? Surely it’s in everyone’s interest for staff to work smarter instead of harder. Employees who look after themselves and who can go home at sensible times will be fresher and less likely to need time off work, time off which will often be caused by the weakening of the immune system caused by stress, tiredness, and overwork.
Some employees are happy with the standard hours and others happy to work much longer hours. Either is absolutely fine but employers should remain open-minded on the subject so that they ensure that their working practices don’t inadvertently lead to the most talented employees who could help grow their business deciding not to apply to join their company.
A phrase used often in the military is “overcome and adapt” - this is an approach which all companies should consider. A good example is when bad weather hits the UK and your staff cannot get into the office. In situations like this, sales and customer service delivery can really suffer during the affected period.
If, however, you have systems in place for staff to work remotely, then you will be one of the few companies whose built-in resilience and infrastructure means that you can still do business and serve your clients.
What would happen if you lost internet or telecoms, even for just a few days? Again, if your staff can work from another location or from home, your business can still sell what it sells and look after its customers.
Offering flexibility to staff on the hours and location of work requires the creation of a parallel infrastructure however, in an online and connected world, setting one up is quick, cheap, and efficient.
When it doesn't work for employees
Many talented individuals who have become disillusioned with the lack of flexibility often start working for themselves to achieve the work-life balance that they and their families need. Whilst some never look back, there are others who would love to return to the stability of an employed role with some flexibility.
The management team at More Than Words Marketing have embraced the benefits that come from providing flexible working for staff alongside achieving the commercial goals to grow the business. We specialise in providing b2b lead generation, specialist copywriting services, b2b telemarketing, b2b data lists and a dedicated marketing service into UK schools.
To find out more call 0330 010 8300.