In the modern working age, the traditional 9-to-5 is being replaced by the growing phenomenon of flexible working, whether that means taking on part-time jobs, flexible hours, contract work, Saturday jobs, remote working or even employment in the gig economy.
While flexible working might sound appealing to employees, it has been employers that are seeing the real benefits: by adopting flexible working practices, businesses are becoming more agile and adaptable, able to respond better to changes in the business environment, such as an increase or decrease in customer demand.
A win-win for workers and businesses
But, of course, there are benefits for workers too. A recent study found that the majority of UK employees would prefer flexible working over a pay rise. The same survey, from a conference call company, Powwownow, suggests that it’s because people are time-poor that they are seeking jobs offering more flexible working practices. They want to have more flexibility when it comes to time spent with family, friends, or even their favourite pastimes. But, mostly, it’s a reflection of the continuing trend towards attaining a better work/life balance.
Other reports show that flexible working practices, such as remote working and flexitime can make workers more motivated, and, as a result, more productive. This might be one reason why flexitime has increased by 12.35% from 2012 to 2016, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). At the same time, the TUC found that there are more than 250,000 more people working remotely now than a decade ago. More than 4.2 million people regularly work from home now and this is expected to reach 50% of the workforce by 2020.
Lose commuting hours, gain hours in productivity
Working from home, in particular, is gaining ground because it frees workers from the stress of the daily commute. It has taken time for remote working to gain acceptance, as, in the past, employers were unable to gauge how much time employees at home spent engaged in productive work. But there are many tools now, such as Google Docs, that allow colleagues to work together more efficiently and allow managers to track time spent on projects.
Indeed, research has shown that there can be massive increases in productivity derived from working at home. There are also cost-savings for the company in terms of requiring less infrastructure, office supplies and power. Additional savings are made to the recruitment budget due to higher levels of staff retention.
Join the flexible working revolution
Certain sectors seem more suited to flexible working than others. IT jobs, sales jobs, accountancy jobs, and digital marketing jobs are some of the niches where more workers are enjoying flexible working arrangements. And it’s not just jobs in London, jobs in Manchester or other big centres where you’ll find these types of positions, flexible working arrangements are appearing all over the UK.
What’s clear is that more and more businesses are taking to flexible working because it’s good for business and good for the people that work for them. If you’d like to join them, job seekers can find the best companies with flexible working policies at Zoek UK.
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