Surely there’s no going back. One positive thing to come out of this turbulent year (and I will say that it is just one of many positives), is that flexible working and working from home in particular, has been accepted and recognised as a viable option. Many have been campaigning for this for years, but almost overnight, millions of people started working from home and proved that it can be done effectively.
In a recent poll on LinkedIn, 72% of people confirmed that they would prefer to spend the majority of their working time at home (80% at home and 20% in the office). Only 6% of respondents wanted to spend the bulk of their time in the office rather than at home, with 21% voting for an equal split. Katy Fridman, Founder of Flexible Working People who conducted the poll, believes that “this sends a clear message to employers. We’ve proved it can be done so now is the time for change.”
Flexible working opportunities
I have been lucky enough to work for several companies who were happy to offer some flexible working. For many years, and at different workplaces, I was able to work from home one day a week. Another company was happy for me to work a four day week. After maternity leave, my boss was happy to adjust my role so that I could work part time (three days a week).
So far, so good. But when I moved back to the UK from Australia and needed to balance work with caring for my family, young and old, it proved a struggle. After positive experiences of negotiating flexible working with employers, I was shocked at the lack of similar, new jobs that were part time or flexible and matched my experience and capabilities.
Flexible working employers
As employees pursue better work-life integration, forward-thinking companies are discovering that offering flexible working options brings huge business benefits, including improvements in performance, reputation, culture and ultimately profits.2to3days
An understanding leader makes a huge difference. I remember clearly the first email sent from an incoming CEO to his staff in which he laid out his vision for the company and his intentions. His first initiative was to offer flexible working options. It wasn’t just for parents and carers, he recognised that people had many reasons for wanting to be released from the shackles of 9 to 5. It could be starting late to attend a morning yoga class, finishing early to volunteer or working from home regularly to avoid a lengthy commute. For me, that recognition of his staff as individual people with a life outside of work which was important, made a big impact and I respected him greatly for it.
Flexible working benefits
- Saving time and money (no commute)
- More time with family
- Improved mental health
- Discovered a better way of working.
I’ll add a few more to that:
- More time to do things you choose to do (mental and physical health benefits)
- Reduced childcare costs
- People who choose not to work full time because of their other responsibilities, can still contribute to the workforce
- More local spend.
Flexible working life
The need for flexible working was the driving force in me setting up my own business. Being primary carer for my son and my dad, meant that I couldn’t always be in the office or work 9 to 5. Some days I’d be logging on at daybreak and other days I’d be burning the midnight oil, but it meant that I could still pursue a career I’d built and enjoyed over many years whilst being there for them.
I truly believe that a flexible working future is the best option. I would love to see more people able to work in ways that suit them. It really is about time.
I can always make time for a chat about ways to improve your business’ content. Please get in touch to book a time.