Are You & Your Employees Benefitting From Flexible Working?

In Business, Employee Benefits by Paul Howell

The business case for offering flexible working has been given a significant boost after a study found that employees who have the option to work flexibly are more productive and take less time off.

According to the survey conducted by OnePoll in November 2018 on behalf of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), more than a quarter (27%) of flexible workers say they actually work longer hours under their “flexi-routine” than they did when they had a normal schedule. In fact, the flexible workers surveyed said they put in around 6.7 extra hours each week, compared to when they were at their desks in the office.

It is not surprising then that 21% of flexible workers said they are now “much more productive”, having moved away from a traditional working arrangement.

Further benefits cited by the flexible workers included feeling happier (38%), having more family time (36%) and feeling less stressed (35%).

The poll of 1,500 flexible workers and 500 employees who do not work flexibly also found that flexible working arrangements benefit employee retention too. Indeed, almost three-quarters (73%) of flexible workers said they would be reluctant to leave their current employer if a new one they were considering moving to did not offer the same flexibility.

Choosing Hours Over Location Seems To Be The Norm

In terms of the kind of flexibility British workers are benefitting from, the survey revealed that more are able to choose the hours they work than the location they work from (47% vs. 19%).

But it seems that flexible working arrangements still aren’t available company-wide, with 38% of respondents saying flexible working applied to all of their organisation. Nearly a fifth (18%) said they had to ask for the option to work flexibly and just 15% said it was offered to them personally.

Speaking about the findings of the research, Olivia Hill, chief HR officer at the ATT, said: “Flexible working has a huge number of benefits for employees and employers alike. It seems employers are becoming more likely to allow flexible hours as well as flexibility with location, assuming that as long as the job gets done, it doesn’t really matter when and where it happens. The most important thing is productivity.”

Having worked flexibly, 50% of survey respondents said they couldn’t ever see themselves returning to a more traditional routine once more, with 75% saying it is a key perk of their job.

However, 18% of flexible workers said they worried that their working arrangements gave them less opportunity to engage in workplace social life and events. Furthermore, 15% said they were lonelier as a result of flexible working; 14% admitted feeling guilty for having flexible working arrangements when their colleagues did not; and 13% said they were concerned that they might be overlooked for promotion due to them being out of sight and potentially out of mind.

The OnePoll study on behalf of AAT reveals some interesting insights into the benefits of flexible working for both employees and employers alike. The fact that many flexible workers say they are more productive – and being able to work flexibly is a key perk of their job – highlights that the practise is win-win for all.

I joined Premier Choice Group as an SME/Corporate Consultant in 2017 and look after the Healthcare & Protection needs of a nationwide portfolio. I began my career in Healthcare and Protection in 1985 with BUPA, before moving on to  Royal & Sun Alliance. In 2002, I became an Intermediary and worked with Private Clients, SME’s and Corporate clients on a local, national and international basis.