Today’s dynamic and diverse workforce wants nothing to do with the standard 9 to 5. Companies that continue to enforce this model, outside of scenarios that make it absolutely necessary, are going to encounter difficulties when it comes to hiring and retaining top talent, who will look to employers with flexible working arrangements instead. The time to futureproof the workplace is now, and part of this is about proposing solutions before they have a chance to become issues.
In the UK, the law says that all companies must consider flexible working requests from employees, not just parents or carers. If presenteeism isn’t stamped out from organisations internally, it may simply be stamped out by the law. Here at LEO, we prefer to look on the brighter side of things, and we think that flexible working arrangements are the key to a happier and more productive workforce. Let’s take a look at why businesses’ needs for flexible working spaces will continue to grow, and examine the benefits of flexible working for all.
The trend for hotdesking is ongoing, and flexible working is advantageous to hotdesking in that there’s no ownership over particular desks, reducing territorial instinct and fostering more communication and collaboration. Additionally, flexible working spaces offer great value in terms of building costs since they can be used in many different ways, from client meetings and solo work to longer-term arrangements involving the whole team.
Flexible working arrangements were first thought of as only suitable for small / medium companies and start-ups, but even global giants are now following suit. With economic uncertainty, some companies are growing weary of large property investments and with the availability of virtual and serviced offices rising, they can take advantage of the best of both worlds – on-the-ground presence without expensive long-term commitments.
Some businesses will always require a stable base, but the size of the office needed is going to vary as more employees work remotely and from home. Remote working and ‘flexi work on demand’ is helping businesses and employees achieve better levels of work/life balance by giving staff freedom to complete tasks while offsite, travelling, or dealing with life requirements like doctors’ appointments. Alongside more flexibility, some employees will opt for formal arrangements that will enable them to work from home on set days of the week. We predict that employees will be seeking out more of these arrangements in the near future as the desire for work/life balance will only continue to increase.
This is the final frontier for many companies looking to adopt more flexibility in the office. Flexible time refers to the period of time in which work is done – think typical 9 to 5. With the frequency of hotdesking, telecommuting, and working from home rising, the need for strict office hours decreases; this may not apply to every single working day, as client needs must be considered, but on days when all the work to be completed is of an independent nature, there’s not really a need for the set hours. This influences the kinds of office spaces that businesses opt for now and in the future. Fewer bodies in the office at any given time means less need for permanent arrangements and large office spaces with high overhead costs.
Businesses with a forward outlook and desire to attract top talent need to re-evaluate current and future roles in terms of onsite presence. For example, are there any roles where the employee can reasonably work their chosen hours? Perhaps you can offer a compressed working week or the option to work on the weekend instead of a weekday. By considering these solutions now, businesses will stand out amongst those clinging to tradition over employee satisfaction and productivity. Some recent findings are showing that companies with a 4-day working week increase their productivity, making a good argument for shaking up established ideas about work.
Not every flexible option will be right for every business, but it’s worth noting that the future of work is likely to continue changing, with employees looking for ways to make work and life more harmonious. Processes should be reviewed to centre employee performance and productivity in place of mere hours worked. The cultural work shift will take a little while to adapt to, and it’s the businesses actively thinking about potential changes and adjustments that are going to get ahead of the curve.