The days of 9-5 being the normal working pattern are truly over. We now live in a digitally connected global economy that operates 24/7. As a result, more and more people are working flexibly. Work flexibility is a lifesaver for many employees, who would otherwise find it hard to manage work with study, family and other lifestyle and care commitments.
Flexibility in working hours can be great for both employees and employers, according to a number of research results, though the way 'flexibility' is structured and implemented strongly impacts outcomes. Meanwhile, poor work-life balance can be bad for businesses in a myriad of ways.
Research from the Smarter Working Initiative reveals that three quarters of UK employees now consider flexible working as a favourable option when selecting a new role. Businesses not on board with flexible working could be inadvertently deterring the best talent. A recent study by charity Working Families, found that 30% of part-time workers contracted to work 25 hours a week are putting in enough hours to qualify as full-time workers. Organisations fostering a culture of long working hours are creating an environment where staff burnout and high staff turnover is more likely.
Embracing flexible working could come with significant benefits to economy and society.
A recent analysis by London-based recruitment consulting firm Feel, showed that British businesses could potentially gain £1.3 million in earnings annually by bringing mothers back to work.
Flexible working is meant to support employees in achieving a better work-life balance. It isn’t just good for employees, it is good for business. The sooner employers understand the importance of employee work-life balance, the sooner they will benefit from a happier, more productive workforce.
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