Do you prefer to have all your employees sat at their desks where you can micro-manage them, or are you a macro-manager with a more relaxed management style?
In the digital age, advances in technology have enabled employees to share files, communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects, without the added burden of a commute or distractions at work.
It's no longer the case that every employee needs to be in the office to be productive. In many cases, managers are actively encouraging their employees to take advantage of their flexible work arrangements.
Here are seven key benefits to consider to offer your staff more flexibility:
1. Reduced costs
Hot-desking schemes are becoming increasingly popular in many offices, allowing employees to use communal seats and computers on the days they come into work.
This gives businesses the opportunity to increase headcount without a larger office space.
2. Increased productivity
If an employee has the ability to work remotely from home, they save time on commute, meaning they may be inclined to start work earlier and finish later. Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of HR directors have seen an increase in productivity, further demonstrating the business benefits of flexible work arrangements.
Conscious of the need to prove they can work effectively from home, and justify the arrangement, many employees work harder than ever to deliver results. Flexible working also helps your employees relish their role and this can mean valuable increases in productivity and performance.
3. Increased creativity
Happy, motivated employees - those who are enthusiastic about their job, are likely to be grateful for flexible working hours, and may be more inclined to engage with their organisation and make a valuable contribution.
Flexible work arrangements can also encourage professionals to 'think outside the box' and be more innovative. Some employees may become more actively involved when they do come into the office, and are more willing to offer up creative ideas. These could relate to work processes, ongoing projects or general working culture.
4. Ease of management
If employees are eager to work flexibly, they will aim to cause as little disruption as possible, minimising the input needed from their manager.
If employees can prove they are easy to manage on a non-standard shift, further flexible working opportunities may arise. In most cases, professionals simply get on with their work; they will be heard from when they need to collaborate with colleagues or managerial input is necessary.
5. Improved well-being
Employee well-being is a key concern for many managers across several companies, and rightly so. Taking steps to encourage employees to have passion and enthusiasm for their job can be critical to retain top talent. Offering flexible working to employees can boost staff morale and improve their physical and mental well-being.
When staff members enjoy flexible work arrangements, they are likely to be less tired and better rested, reducing the risks of fatigue, burnout and stress. As a result, they will be able to give their all on a daily basis.
6. Staff retention
Many employees view being offered flexible working hours as a sign they are valued by the company. Those who have other responsibilities or out-of-work interests may see flexible work arrangements as an absolute must or a deal-breaker for any organisation they work for.
The business benefit from offering flexible working is that it may assist employee retention efforts.
7. Attracting talent
Some professionals actively look for jobs that will allow them to work flexibly. It could be that they have childcare responsibilities or voluntary commitments, and are looking to achieve a better work-life balance.
Offering flexible work arrangements can allow employers to recruit talented candidates who would otherwise have been out of their reach.
Should you offer employees flexible work arrangements?
In terms of flexible working, the potential advantages for employees are well-known - including an improved work-life balance, greater autonomy and employee motivation.
But it's important for employers to recognise the business benefits of flexible work arrangements too. It's not just staff members who stand to gain from such initiatives, as organisations can reduce costs, improve output and increase loyalty when schemes are implemented in the right way.
When flexible working is used appropriately with the necessary level of buy-in from both employers and employees, it can be to everyone's advantage.