We all know the famous Dolly Parton song, Working 9-5, I am sure most of us listen to it on a Monday morning, to give us that feel- good motivation for the week. However, in the ever-changing world and the new ways of working that COVID-19 has forced employers to introduce, working 9-5 does not appear like the best way to make a living anymore..
Flexible working has slowly been introduced over the years in certain workplaces, with both employers and employees enjoying the benefits it brings. Trying to strike that perfect balance between work and home life is made so much easier when you can be flexible in the workplace.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working comprises a wide range of different working patterns. These types of working patterns have historically been reserved to those who work in the office environment. A typical office worker would normally work a 9-5 shift, however with flexibility, they may be able to work one 9-4 or 10 -6, giving them a little more flexibility to manage the demands on modern life, such as childcare, medical appointments or indeed the daily commute.
Different types of flexible working
Home working – During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a huge surge in the amount of people working from home. This for many employees, is a popular flexible working pattern. Employees can split the time spent between working at the office and working at home. Employees can even work at home full time without the need of having to go into the office. This is a good way to reduce office costs for businesses. So you can literally tumble out of bed and stumble straight into the kitchen, which may also be your workspace.
Flexitime – Flexitime allows employees to work flexible hours across the day. This scheme is used by setting core hours, when the employee has to be in the office, but they are free to choose their own start and finish times. You can see how a flexitime system works here https://www.permatek.co.uk/introducing-flexitime-for-staff-working-from-home/. Although this is a great working pattern for employees, it does require a substantial amount of monitoring from the employer, to ensure, albeit flexible, the rules are being followed. Having a modern time and attendance system installed makes this so much easier and ensures that accurate working hours are recorded.
4 Day Working Week – Although we haven’t seen a huge uptake in businesses in the UK switching to a 4 day week, this working pattern has been adopted by other countries around the world. It is reported that working longer hours over fewer days increases productivity while giving the employee that extra day off a week. The government is being urged to adopt this working pattern (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-four-day-week-rishi-sunak-furlough-economy-a9573446.html) for most businesses to help recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This type of flexible working has been used throughout history as a way of responding to an economic crisis. https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/could-four-day-working-week-22252145.
Benefits of adopting flexible working for employers and employees
As we enter this new way of working and say goodbye to the standard 9-5 shift, let’s take a look at the benefits that flexible working will bring for both employers and their employees.
- Increase your talent pool and attract more candidates – By offering flexible working patterns, this can attract more candidates to apply for your positions. It gives applicants the impression that you are a progressive organisation that is willing to listen and accommodate your employees personal commitments and needs.
- Reduce costs – Cutting down the amount of people in the office means that companies can move to a smaller office building, thus reducing monthly costs spent on rent etc. Having a mixture of people working from home and working in the office can avoid companies having to shell out money for more space. Most office workers are now in a position where they can work from home without it drawing up massive expenses, all they really require is a laptop, internet and a mobile/landline.
- Reduce Overtime Costs – Employees on flexible working schedules are more productive in getting their work done during normal working hours, using that time more effectively which decreases the demand for employees needing to work overtime.
- Reduce absences and sickness – When most employees feel that they are struggling to juggle their work and home life balance, this can play a huge part on their well-being as a whole, causing unnecessary stress which can then lead to employees having time off due to not being able to cope. By allowing that flexibility, this will in turn improve their health and well-being as they will be able to manage their work and home life balance much better.
- Increase productivity – Employers that allow flexible working in the work place show that they are putting more trust into their employees, this can improve morale as a whole and employees are more likely to feel value, willing to put in that extra effort which will increase productivity.
- Reduced commute costs – By splitting time spent working in the office and working at home or working from home permanently, costs of commuting in to work, whether this is done by public transport or car, will decrease.
- Less stress – Trying to find a perfect balance between work and home life is hard for some employees. Flexible working gives employees more time to spend at home with their families.
- Increased productivity – 4 day working has been known to increase an employees’ productivity. Working more hours on less days but then having the benefit of having three days off instead of two boosts morale. An employee is likely to feel more loyal towards their employer who is providing them with the flexibility. By introducing staggered hours or flexitime, this allows employees to become available to customers, even outside of normal working business hours, so companies do not have to worry about missing out on customers to competitors.
As more and more employers start to adopt the new ways of working and shift to flexible patterns, it appears like 9-5 will slowly fade and we will only have the famous Dolly Parton song to remember it.
Switching to flexible working patterns can be a struggle for some employers when it comes to keeping track of which employees are working what pattern, whether some are splitting the time spent in the office and at home, some might be on staggered hours and others may have dropped down a day. Our FlexiTime software takes away all of the hassle of recording hours, making it quick and easy to keep track of your employees. Our mobile clocking system is perfect for those employees who are working off-site, they simply clock in when they start work and clock out when they finish, with geolocation you can pinpoint their exact location at the time of clocking in, making sure they are where they should be.