The rise of flexible working has brought a lot of visible changes to our working days. You may be someone who practices flexible working yourself, or perhaps you are a manager of a flexible team, or maybe you simply see it from day to day in the office. Either way, we are all aware the recent rise in more flexible working policies, with some of the big names in business, such as Nike, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and Google, all investing in, and supporting, flexible working.
But it is not just companies driving the change- employees are keen to advocate for flexible working policies.
In fact, a recent study by Mckinsey found that, when people have the opportunity to work remotely, 87% of the will take it.
That gives you a real flavour for just how popular flexible working is becoming to the wider workforce. And why not?
The benefits of flexible working
Increased flexibility allows for better health, better life balance, and the freedom to bring work and home together in a more harmonious way, which can only be a good thing. That might look like the ability to finish early, so you are able to pick the kids up from school, or starting later so you can ensure you get enough sleep. Either way- the logic of trying to fit everyone’s individual needs in to a 9-5 box just doesn’t stack up anymore.
But even if the numerous positive effects on our well being isn’t enough, workers who have adopted the flexible approach, report seeing significant increases in their productivity levels, happiness and overall work satisfaction. In fact, according to the Gartner digital worker experience survey, 43% of respondent said that flexible working was the main reason for them achieving greater productivity. When workers have the ability to flex their working hours, they are able to adapt their working hours to the times when they are most productive. And this is having significant results- flexible workers work 16.8 more days every year than office workers, and on those days they were more productive.
Say goodbye to the dreaded commute
Ah, the dreaded commute. Bleary eyed on a Monday morning- you sit in a long queue of traffic, amidst equally annoyed drivers agitatedly drumming their fingers on the steering wheels, or staring crossly out of the window. You’ve not even got to the office yet, and already you feel frustrated, with energy levels running low after the long drive. If you still commute into an office on a Monday, the traffic can be a nightmare and commuting can take an age.
So why would we still do it? Not only does not commuting save money (you can even work out exactly how much here), time and energy- it can provide us with a better platform to start our day. When we turn up at work feeling agitated and exhausted from our commute, we won’t function as our best selves. Yet leave the commute- and use that time to get some extra sleep, prepare breakfast you love, get organised for the day, or spend time with family. You will begin your day on a much better footing- feeling prepared, refreshed, relaxed and ready to start working.
Recently, a client of ours reported how, as more of their employees are choosing to work flexibly on a Thursday and Friday, they have noticed the significant difference between the beginning and end of the week. For those who choose to come in to work, the working area is quieter, the car park is significantly less busy, and the commute smoother. The employees find their day much less impacted than it would be if they had to work with a office full of people, after commuting through hectic Monday traffic.
Leaving behind the commute is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Not only is productivity and effectiveness enhanced, but employees can flex their day to suit them, promoting working practices that act to promote their health and well being. And with continued advancements into technology acting as platforms to promote remote working, it’s now even easier for companies to embrace flexible working. The rigid era of the 9-5 shift is coming irrevocably to an end.