Why Flexible Working Hours Are Essential In Business

I’m not an expert in this field, nor do I claim to be. Saying that, I believe that makes my opinion even more valid. I’ve worked in a number of companies all with different visions of how work should be. Some of them got it right; some of them got it wrong. Very wrong indeed.

Flexible working is becoming more prominent within business and rightly so. Companies are embracing the lifestyles of employee’s and enabling them to work around their life as opposed to working life around work. But is this the right way forward? I cannot emphasise how much I think so.  I’ve worked in businesses where the rigid nature of working literally saddens staff members. I’ve seen people leave an organisation merely because the rigid approach does not fit their lifestyle.

But is it all about the employee’s and not about the employers? Not at all. Those old school managers may not hold the same torch as I do but they are wrong let me tell you. There’s so much benefit from agreeing to flexible working hours and it’s not all to benefit the employee. The organisation can literally reap the awards agreeing to flexible working hours.

Below are some of the key reasons of why flexible working can aspire your work force to perform better for your organisation:

Productivity:
This is the main one which everybody wants to read. The notion of flexible working hours usually pictures somebody relaxing at home feet up while the emails clog up. That’s again entirely not the case. Flexible working hours breed productivity. I’m an early riser and my best working hours are between the hours of 7am and 3pm. Any company would be mad not to take advantage of this. If an individual is more productive at a set part of the day why would you have them work the standard 9am – 5pm day and lose potentially 4 hours of top drawer productivity? It doesn’t make sense to me.

It’s a fact that tailoring work hours to suit the individual will yield better results in business. Of course this cannot be the case in all industries but where possible in office based environments allow workers to structure their working day to match their most productive hours.

Happiness:
Flexible working hours ooze happiness within a work force. There is nothing worse than having to work hours which don’t match your lifestyle. Before I passed my driving test I used to have to be dropped off at work by my Girlfriend. Unfortunately as a teacher she could only drop me off at 8am and I started work at 9am. I asked the company director if I could start work at 8am instead and finish early. Still working the same hours, still maintaining my same professionalism to the organisation.

He said no. Apparently it didn’t fit into the organisations working hours. He did however say he was happy for me to come into work at 8am and start work, just couldn’t leave early. Amazing huh?

This little nugget above did one thing; made me realise I was in the wrong organisation. Any organisation that cannot within reason help an employee find balance is the wrong organisation. It merely felt like a one dimensional street. As long as the business came first then nothing else mattered. It did for me though, I left two months later. Now this point is not about me it’s about how organisations SHOULD be ran. Any IT related career genuinely has the ability to structure working hours around the employee.

It’s a simple first step to make your work force happy. They’ll appreciate your care for their lifestyle and in turn they’ll walk that extra yard to make the business better.

Loyalty:
The loyalty point follows on nicely from the happiness. A happy work force is a loyal work force. Flexible working hours promote loyalty in the work place as your employee’s are much happier with their working conditions when it suits their lifestyle.

By offering flexible working you are increasing your chance of maintaining staff members and encouraging loyalty, especially within the Generation Y workforce. By been loyal to your employee’s and their circumstances you will gain loyalty back. Loyalty is a two way street!

Incentive:
Business is tough at the moment. Despite it been the buzz word at the moment it is indeed true, we are in the midst of an economic crisis. With this pay reviews are frozen, people maintain the same wage and unhappiness runs through the work force. Businesses have to provide incentives in other ways. What better way than offer flexible working?

It’s tough for everyone at the moment and businesses fight a real battle to keep people motivated. By offering flexible working as an incentive you can keep employees engaged. Those businesses that don’t and continue to blame the economy will lose out. Workers will become unenthusiastic, lack motivation and feel the doom and gloom of the economy.

Absenteeism
Absenteeism has been reduced in companies through flexible working, sometimes by as much as 25 per cent. By introducing flexible hours individuals are less likely to let sickness affect them as they can make up the hours through job flexibility. Furthermore if they have an appointment or a need for a day off this can be reduced by merely letting someone come into the office later.

This also falls into the happiness category as employee’s who are happy with where they work are less likely to have days off (other than annual leave). By offering this flexibility you are entrusting your workforce and almost giving your workforce a job to be proud of.

Less stress
Everybody wants a stress free working environment. By making work a stress free environment your employees will perform better. Flexible working is a step towards this environment. Having people in the office when they WANT to be in the office promotes a stress free environment. You will have happy workers, engaged workers and workers who are ultimately working when their creative juices best flow.

Some businesses promote a stressed environment where colleagues work 70+ hours a week. It doesn’t work in the long term. Promote the right atmosphere and you’ll promote rock star employees. No doubt.

Summary:
I’ve worked in both environments, one which offers flexible working and one which doesn’t. I can categorically say I was more engaged, inspired and productive in the environment where I felt like I was valued. Within one of the organisations I happily worked for 3 years, the other I lasted 5 months. It wasn’t just the fact that flexible hours weren’t available it was the company culture on a whole. A company is only as strong as those they employee. Without valuing those individuals and their life outside the company you will not have a successful company in the long term.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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