Our survey looked at how important flexibility is in the workplace to both men and women across in-house and agency professionals. 80% of respondents said that flexibility around start/finish time is either important or extremely important to them. However, results showed that 33% of employers do not offer any flexibility around working hours. Clearly some employers are missing a trick here.
88% of respondents said working from home when required is either important or extremely important. The good news is that 85% of them are able to work from home when required – a positive sign.
What is glaringly obvious here is that flexibility is what employees of both genders really, really want. And despite a fast growing demand for flexible jobs, most businesses haven’t kept up. Right now, only one in every 10 quality jobs is advertised as being flexible at the point of hire. This has created fierce demand for the flexible, quality jobs that do exist.
What needs to be done to accommodate this desire for more flexibility?
To be more precise, what do employers need to do about it? Employers who are not offering flexibility and working from home when required are running the risk of not retaining their high performers, especially their female employees.
It’s time for businesses to start acting when it comes to creating workplaces that welcome flexible workers – from implementing strategies that truly look at how to adapt to hiring flexibly, designing roles creatively and establishing a culture fit for the future.
Flexibility is no longer a ‘perk' – value is now attached to it. It improves work-life balance; it looks after health and wellbeing. Implementing flexible working practices can improve staff engagement and motivation. It’s a must-have part of any role!
Remember – it’s not just beneficial for women
While flexible working has historically been seen as a female or parental issue, the benefits can and should apply to all employees seeking a better work-life balance. Technology makes it increasingly easier to work flexibly; it makes no business sense not to offer it.
If you don’t offer flexibility already, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate. After all, who doesn’t want to improve staff productivity, attraction and retention, as well as cut down on travel and property costs? You want to develop the best possible team and flexibility lies at the core of your strategy.
In a nutshell…
Embedding a culture of flexibility begins to chip away at the types of issues that can prevent women from advancing their careers, as well as making sure that this becomes the norm rather than ‘special treatment’ that may be resented by others. It’s an issue that affects the wellbeing of both sexes, their families and the businesses they work for/run.
So whether it’s flex-time, job sharing, telecommuting, a condensed/reduced work week, a sabbatical, or phased retirement, helping your employees achieve the work-life balance they so strongly desire is surely a no-brainer? When it comes down to it, the jobs of the future that we need in order to compete in today’s global economy are – yes, you guessed it – flexible ones.
For further information about what industry professionals place a high value on when it comes to considering a new role, check out our Annual Salary Guide 2017/18 http://www.the-works.co.uk/salary-guide
If you would like to talk about how you can offer more flexibility to employees in your organisation, we’d love to help. Call us on 0207 559 6690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.