Why more businesses are looking at a ‘flexible working week’

Last year Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer controversially put a ban on working from home in a bid to increase productivity, collaboration and culture.  Whether the move is working for the tech giant is yet to be determined – what we have seen is that there is a massive trend in the opposite direction towards flexible working.  According to a recent survey 95% of medium-sized companies are already offering some form of flexible working.  Despite this we see few opportunities within the Marketing and Advertising sector that offer this arrangement.  We’d also assume that many of the businesses that do offer this have few managers that actually go on to approve it.

What is clear is that there is life outside of work, and invariably circumstances change for people with the three C’s – Children, Commutes and Commitments – making the notion of a 5-day week tricky to manage. Finding a balance is equally tricky, and harder still is finding an employer that will afford the option of more flexibility. Taking a step back, the question is, what are the benefits of offering a flexible working week?

-Improved employee engagement – reported to directly impact positively on motivation, engagement and commitment. 72% of managers think there is a link between increased employee engagement and flexible working, according to a Regus survey

-Reduced absenteeism, employee burnout and turnover levels- 76% of 2,500 managers polled in a CIPD survey gave this as a reason for adopting flexible working

-An enhanced Employer Brand – promotes commitment to supporting employees

-If managed effectively, the cost of labour is also reduced if part-time flexibility is offered.

-Increased productivity – research by Regus found 70% of managers reported an increase in productivity after a shift to flexi-working.

From a recruitment standpoint, it gives businesses access to a greater pool of talent

Historically we’ve seen employer’s finding it hard to see the value in offering a flexible week, notably at the senior end, as core responsibilities tend to centre around leadership of both people and projects with many seeing this as a full-time role.  This however immediately limits the talent pool when recruiting at the senior end as the 3 C’s increasingly play a part in any job decision. In order to keep the talent pool open, employers need to think about how they can offer the right balance.

I’m a Founding Partner of Bamboo Crowd. I help our clients invest better in people and scale through Engine. I solve recruitment challenges and help our clients source the best talent across operations, business development, programme management, and technology. Ask me about good films, beards and hip hop.