Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living. Dolly Parton was perhaps ahead of her time when she sang about the tedium of routine working hours back in 1980. These days, flexible working is increasingly popular, and Millennials and Gen Z, the new generation now entering the workforce, expect it more than ever before.
There are benefits for businesses, too, with productivity improvements and increased employee retention.
What types of flexible working can you offer?
Flexible working doesn’t just have to be altering set start and finish times. With the help of time and attendance solutions, like the leading software product offered by Mitrefinch, any or a combination of the below are suitable:
- Flex-time – The employee decides what hours to work, sometimes with set ‘core hours’ to be worked
- Job sharing – Where two (or sometimes more) people share the same job but split the hours. Ideal for remote workers or those in the office
- Part-time – Working a few days or a few hours every day
- Compressed hours – Working the required number of hours, but over fewer days
- Annualized hours – There will be “core hours” that must be adhered to, but aside from that,the employee has to notch up the required number of hours worked each year
- Staggered hours – The employees can have different start, finish and break times
- Phased retirement – Senior workers can extend their working life by gradually reducing their hours or shifting to part-time
It’s important to note that what might be a good solution for a working parent, might not be what a younger person needs. You’d need to consult with your workforce before offering any flexible working package to ensure you are fair to all.
Is flexible working right for your business?
In the last ten years, organizations offering flexible working has increased to the point where more than half of employees (54%, according to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development) now say they use at least one type of flexible working.
There can be no doubt increasing staff morale, thereby attracting and then retaining good people for longer, will increase efficiency and productivity. Studies have found nearly half the workforce would prefer the freedom of working through breaks to shorten their day, while the avoidance of distractions felt by those working from home or on staggered hours was another big plus. And if you have a 24-hour service operation or clients and suppliers around the world, flexible working allows your team to be available for more of the daily cycle. Traditional obstacles to flexible working – technology, the “it’s how we’ve always worked” mentality of older workers and trust that staff will be working as hard, are increasingly defunct.
What does the law say an employer must do?
Any request for flexible working from an employee has to be considered by the business, which must be able to justify any refusal. As Dolly Parton ruefully described 9 to 5 working: “It’s all takin’ and no givin’.” Make sure you have your employees’ best interests at heart while ensuring your continuity of service.