Flexible working ‘benefits staff and employers’

Flexible working ‘benefits staff and employers’

The option to allow staff to work flexibly, whether it be from home or simply adjusting their hours to help them avoid busy commuting periods has a host of benefits.

Many businesses believe that these benefits only apply to the workers who have the option of working away from the office, but in fact the company can also gain an advantage from the situation.

That is the opinion of Fintan O'Toole, employment expert and chairman of Croydon Chamber of Commerce and director of its HR department, who believes flexible working is a two-way street.

With the growth of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, the increased use of cloud technologies and the rise in quality and prevalence of wireless networks and hotspots, more and more people can work either at home or in the office.

One of the main benefits for employees is that they can enjoy work without worrying about the expense and time consuming nature of the daily commute to and from the office.

This aspect can also benefit the company as it can lead to relocating to a cheaper and smaller office, or the option to further expand the number of employees without the need for more desks.

When flexible working started to take hold of the business environment it was often the opinion that it was only open to women on maternity leave, a misconception that was then replaced with managers thinking staff would be slacking off at home.

However, a host of surveys have indicated that in fact implementing flexible working across the board within organisations has resulted in a rise in productivity and efficiency as staff are more likely to start work earlier and finish later, meaning they get much more done.

This has been backed up by Hilary Jeanes, a leadership coach and HR consultant with PurpleLine Consulting, who said that implementing flexible working strategies encourage employees to do their jobs more effectively.