Flexible Working: The Facts
Almost all (94%) of UK organisations now offer staff some form of flexible working, according to Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) research. Here are five key areas of business where working flexibly is delivering valuable benefits.
In a workplace survey of 8,000 global companies by Vodafone, 83% said the adoption of flexible working had resulted in higher productivity, while 61% reported said it had boosted company profits. High-speed mobile data services were revealed to be a key driver of these benefits, with 61% of companies saying that employees now use their home broadband to access work applications, while 24% said they use a mobile data connection via their smartphone, tablet or laptop with a broadband dongle.
The link between increased employee engagement and flexible working was highlighted in a 2014 survey by workspace solutions provide Regus. The poll of 2,500 global business leaders revealed that 63% believed that working flexibly helps staff feel more energised and motivated.
Flexible working options are among the most valued of employee benefits, and are key to attracting fresh talent. In a Telework Research Network study it was found that 83% of employees gave flex working options as a reason for accepting a position in the last two years. A recent survey of over 3,000 UK professionals by Regus revealed that nine out of 10 would, given the choice of two similar jobs, choose the one that offered more flexible working options.
The biggest benefit of flexible working is employee retention, according to a 2012 Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) survey, in which 76% of 2,500 managers cited it as a reason for adopting flexible working. They described it as strengthening staff loyalty and encouraging long-term commitment to the company, which enhanced the workplace culture, and ultimately, given the high costs of replacing staff who leave, improved the business bottom line.
Innovation and creativity
Offering staff more freedom and autonomy through initiatives such as flexible working delivers positive business benefits in terms of innovation. A survey of HR directors by recruitment firm Robert Half UK found that over half (51%) thought greater employee autonomy would boost creativity.