Flexible working defined: It is the business decision to give employees the flexibility to arrange work in a different space, time and duration to regular office hours.
The age and career context of business leaders often mean that life, location and family require leaders to be away from the office. Yet the requirements and pressures put upon CEOs and Managing Directors can mean that they are forced to spend time away from the office in the 9-5 (or 9 – 6, 7, 8, 9…). Regardless of the pull of flexible working benefits.
Why is flexible working on trend?
It’s a lifestyle issue. Our entire timings of our modern lives no longer suit the typical 48-hour work week of the 1950s. There is a bleeding of the traditional siloing of work, home and other spaces (like the morning train).
- Cloud hosting and ERP systems work to allow for seamless document storing and collaboration
- Multiple-device communication via IM services like Slack and email applications for smartphones allow for teams to be up-to-date whenever and wherever
- Commercial bandwidth speeds allow for high quality video conferencing
- Equal opportunity: Businesses and huge organisations like the UK government have taken the lead to offer flexible hours to productive members of staff that can’t fit into normal working hours
As the Raconteur future offices report noted, work is increasingly leaving the building.
The fading culture of face-time
In the non-traditional self-employed and the start-up world, it’s much easier to justify flexible working. A working-from-home culture fits self-motivated staff with clear goals and tasks to complete within set timeframes.
On the opposite side, in some traditional settings, such as the Big Four firms, flexible working is only earned after years invested, but the usage of this right is often frowned upon. This is increasingly at odds with the company culture outside of traditional workspaces.
You can understand their concerns. The glue that keeps teams together, the trust kept with those teams and spreading internal culture requires time in office. For that reason, face time is still incredibly important for personnel managers.
What attracts business leaders to hiring and investing in flexible working spaces?
In 2013, Managing Director of Microsoft UK Michel Van der Bel pointed to stresses on London’s transport infrastructure and the prevalence of everyday ‘flexible working’. Reading emails on a Sunday and looking over proposals during a commute are examples, but they happen in places that can have an effect on concentration.
Flexible working spaces are there to strip out the traditional working distractions and fulfill a space requirement so often found in cafés and working retreats. Like the small isolated cabin frequented by author Noah in the HBO series The Affair, getting something done can require a different space and frame of mind to home and away.
There is scientific evidence to back this up. Audience effect and competition are two psychological effects which mean that student libraries and coffee shops improve productivity just by being around other motivated people. Mental effort in these situations is scientifically proven as contagious. In a flexible working space, you will find the same environment – low ambient noise and intelligent professionals getting work done.
If you pair that with first-rate hospitality and service, it’s no wonder that business with the means are investing in hot-desking and flexible working spaces in London.
For more on LEO’s hot desking services, click the link to see locations covering the majority of Central London.