Having the right Work-Life balance is increasingly important these days with more and more people finding that their working day gets longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24hr services. It’s all very well knowing the answer to the question “what is flexible working?” but how does it benefit you as a business and how do you go about it?

There are many businesses that are starting to appreciate how flexible working can benefit them especially in these difficult economic times. Flexible working practices can bring the following benefits to a company and its staff:

  • Improved competitiveness, as you will be able to better respond to the changing markets by using your staff more effectively.
  • It gives a chance to extend the businesses operating hours, which could lead to increased profits.
  • Better staff morale as they have greater job satisfaction.
  • Reduce the level of sickness within the company, and therefore reduce the costs of the associated absence.
  • It can aid in efficiency as it is more cost-effective to have less down time by staggering working hours to ensure that machinery can be worked on 24 hr shifts or saving on any overheads if some of the staff opt to work from home.
  • Ability to attract and retain a more diversely skilled workforce and reduce recruitment costs.
  • Lower rates of staff turnover as staff, who might otherwise have left, can be offered hours they can manage. Many employers find that a positive view on flexible working practices has a “knock-on” effect on many areas regarding employee relations, motivation and commitment. Lower staff turnover means that you are able to keep experienced staff that can often offer a better overall service.
  • Increased customer loyalty and customer satisfaction due to the lower staff turnover.

It needn’t be difficult to put flexible working practices in place, but it is wise for you to consult with your employees before you implement the new policy, get their input and help them understand how flexible working practices can benefit both the company and the individuals involved.

When considering implementing a flexible working policy there are several areas you should consider:

  • Are there any jobs that it might be difficult to carry out under the flexible working practice you want to implement?
  • Which flexible working arrangement would best suit your business model?
  • How flexible are your IT practices, will it be possible for people to access their data and emails from home if needed?
  • If there are any obstacles to your proposed policy, are there “work-arounds” you can put in place?

There are tools available online that can help you calculate what would be the best flexible working schemes for you and your company.

Even if you decide that flexible working practices aren’t for your company as a whole, bear in mind that certain employees have the statutory right to request a more flexible working practice, and you as an employer have the legal duty to give due consideration to the request and only turn it down if there are reasonable business grounds to do so.