Flexible Working - The Future is Here

Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 by Izabela KrajkaNo comments

After working from home during the pandemic, some wonder if flexible working will become the norm. While it was a necessity for some during lockdown, it's no longer an option all companies offer right now. Nevertheless, some firms admit to reviewing their values in the workplace. So, it's time to take a closer look at hybrid working and the UK's businesses.

UK Businesses Struggle to Support Flexible Working

We know from the 1,700 employees questioned in the Employee Experience Campaign research that employee expectations have changed. In fact, 9 out of 10 employees stated that it'd be possible to do their work remotely. Moreover, about 87% would rather work virtually. They feel that it should be up to them where and when they work. And it also looks like employers understand that because half of them expect to work remotely within 2 years as well. However, just 42% believe their company's technology would be able to support it.

Additionally, 78% of employees believe that employers are responsible for their job satisfaction and well-being. What this means, is employees want flexibility and creating a better employee experience is necessary to support flexible working. Moreover, workers, as well as customers, choose to prioritise their values. Meaning, they will seek out firms and companies that align with their ethics.

Looking at recruitment, employers now need to work toward meeting employee expectations. And as the numbers show, flexible working is one of them. To attract or keep talent, companies should look at providing employees with the flexibility and tools they require. Additionally, automating and simplifying processes can help a connected digital experience and lead to the company's success.

Flexible working offer work life balance, piece of paper on a laptop keyboard

Flawed Approach to Hybrid Working Can Be Alienating

According to Microsoft's Work Trends Index, senior business leaders are out of touch with employee expectations. Managers feel stuck and powerless to implement positive changes for their teams. Half of the businesses questioned in the report admitted to planning a full-time in-person return to offices. However, this contrasts the data which proves workers are looking for flexibility and hybrid working options.

This divide may eventually lead to employees quitting and looking for other opportunities. About 43% of surveyed workers admitted to considering changing jobs in the next year. Moreover, 30% of employees prioritise where they work and would look at remote working options to live where they want. However, it's important to remember that when offering remote working, you need to do it correctly.

Remote Working Done Right

Another key factor Microsoft reminds employers of is not abusing flexible working at the cost of the workers. Just because they can be contacted any time doesn't mean they SHOULD be. Employees mustn't feel like they need to be reachable outside of work hours. This statement comes from Microsoft's data showing that workdays and after-hours are increasing.

If you're an employer looking after your employees' wellbeing, take steps to create a positive work culture. For example,

  • limit the number of meetings,
  • sum up discourse via email,
  • set clear breaks
  • and stray from sending emails outside of working hours.

Another key point is working toward maintaining relationships between remote work colleagues. Social capital depends on the resources such as environments or dedicated time and space. If employees can connect with each other and establish that capital, your businesses will be rewarded. It's not an easy task, considering the added physical distance. However, if you want creativity, innovation and engagement, you must take this into account. After all, a stronger relationship report leads to your employees' greater wellbeing.

Scotland Sets Example with Flexible Working Revolution

Another research, coming from Virgin Media O2 Business (CEBR), shows that hybrid working is most popular in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. On average, Scottish employees want to work 2.8 days a week from home. It's a rise of more than 250% in comparison to pre-pandemic figures.

Other UK employees would prefer to work on average 2.35 days a week. Looks like Scottish workers enjoy the benefits that flexible working offers. For example, respondents admitted to having an extra 1.7 hours of free time each day.

Moreover, having the option of working from anywhere you want, makes Scotland an attractive destination. According to the research, Scotland makes itself more welcoming than the rest of the UK and could see 238,000 employees relocating here. Now, it could potentially add £7.1 million into Scotland's economy, granted the employees kept their salaries as stated in the research.

man working from home on a laptop, flexible working opportunity

The Future is Flexible

And so should be your business. The pandemic has thought us a great lesson when it comes to being flexible and innovative. After 2 years of some of us getting adjusted and reaping the benefits of remote working, you can't deny that things have changed. Of course, maybe not everyone prefers working from home. For those living alone, going to the office was also about seeing their colleagues and getting out of the house.

Nevertheless, many of us prefer having the say and freedom in choosing how and where we want to work. The reports above show that more people want to have that option. So, if you want to keep or attract talent, you need to adjust. You need to ask your staff what they would prefer. The act alone will show your employees that their voice and opinion matter. It's a great way to better your workers' well-being and in turn, create a successful business with a dedicated team.

If you do decide to go ahead and give your employee the ability to work from anywhere or offer a flexible working arrangement, prepare for it. Make sure you have the right tools, access to technology, hardware and training you will need. It will take time, effort and investment but that way you will appeal to skilled workers. So, if you care about the future of your business, time to stretch because flexibility matters. And if you're looking for some remote working opportunities, we've got you :)

Previous PostNext Post

No comments on "Flexible Working - The Future is Here"