With advances in technology and the incredible rise of smartphones and Wi-Fi in recent years, it’s easier than ever to always be connected. Modern day technology affords us the opportunity to work whenever and wherever we want and many employees feel they don’t need to be – and indeed, aren’t – in the office at all times to get the job done. With employees given the statutory rights to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment service, more of them than ever are being attracted by remote and home working.
Although there isn’t much evidence to support that standard nine to five working days serve for better productivity and performance, what does appear to be true is that flexible working serves to have a positive impact on individual health and wellbeing. With so many demands on a person’s life, a working day that shows a degree of flexibility on time spent in the office can make all the difference and result in less frazzled moments, less stress and more time to breathe.
The difficulty lies in knowing how to measure this flexible time. Is it based on hours spent working or does the abandonment of traditional working hours mean the individual is expected to be – and ends up being – contactable and answering work emails at all hours? Will they be reprimanded for not answering a call from their boss at 8 pm? Is there an assumption that the time they are not in the office is spent doing other things and therefore they should be available to work all night? Flexible working comes with the need for a clear definition of what is reasonable and most nine to five workers are already all too aware of the extra time they put in on top of their working day. How many times have you sat on a crowded train in rush hour only to be surrounded by the lengthy and sometimes frantic chatter of commuters on their phones or the repetitive tapping of fingers on laptops?
For flexible working to work well, there’s a need for complete transparency and for HR departments to be aware of making new working patterns based on meeting the needs of both the business and the individual whilst taking into account the complexities of health and safety, employment law and IT and data security. With research suggesting increased benefits for both worker and company as a result of flexible working, it’s a trend that will continue to grow and companies should be embracing the changes and putting the procedures in place.
For the employee, it’s all about balancing expectation and reality and making sure that while you are fully committed to your job and putting the hours – and sometimes more – in, you’re also making sure you take the time to have a personal life and settle down in front of the TV…
At Halecroft, we pride ourselves on offering as flexible a workplace as possible for our employees, as we believe that a flexible office is a happy office. How about you? Have you had any experiences of flexible working, either as an employer or as an employee? We would love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch or send us a tweet @HalecroftRec or visit us at www.halecroftrecruitment.co.uk