Recognizing the benefits of flexible work hours for productivity in the workplace and work-life balance

When the government first adopted emergency measures during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, many workers learned to value the flexibility that remote working gave to their working lives. Some of them even demonstrated to their employers the viability of remote working. There has been a sea change in attitudes towards working practices as we enter a post-pandemic world.

The “Great Resignation” was the major workplace event of 2021. After a Deutsche Bank examination, it was discovered in the UK that the number of resignations has increased to its highest level since 2009. Regarding the Great Resignation’s origins, one theory focuses on how flexible working practices spread throughout the pandemic. The forced shift to remote working gave employees access to opportunities they hadn’t had before. Employees began to be prepared to leave their current employment for those that gave more freedom in order to have access to additional or better responsibilities.

This change in working attitudes was reflected in the government’s consultation paper on the proposed changes to the flexible working regime, which was published on September 23, 2021. The ability to make flexible requests from the start of employment and the lack of a request cap are important recommendations.

The government is investigating ways to make flexible work schedules stronger in light of this, and some employees are prepared to transfer roles in order to have greater flexibility. All of this will have an impact on the job market. Time, effort, and resources are required for talent acquisition and retention.

What flexible employment options should firms consider in order to attract, keep, and promote a diverse and stable workforce?

Advantages and disadvantages of flexible work hours for the employer

Four-day work flexibly 

The idea of a four-day workweek is not new, but the trend for shorter workweeks has gained traction since the pandemic. On a six-month trial plan, 4 Day Week Global is actively collaborating with others. Participants are required to sustain 100% production at 80% of the customary time, with no effect on compensation, according to the pilot.

There are perceived benefits in countries like Iceland where similar tests have been carried out, despite the fact that the trial’s results are not yet known. A four-day workweek without a pay cut may be a tempting solution for people seeking more flexibility in their workweek, notably parents and carers who will be better able to balance their duties.

This paradigm can enable all workers, including those with disabilities, to focus on their health, whether that entails reducing commuting time, exercising at times when it is more acceptable in society, or attending crucial appointments.

However, other organisations, particularly those in service-based industries where, for example, clients might not be ready to deal with a supplier who works a four-day week, have questioned the feasibility of such a model.

Remote work productivity

Some claim that full-time remote employment improves work-life balance for some employees and saves firms a lot of money on overhead costs like office space. Staying at home and skipping the drive can give you more flexibility when attending medical appointments, more time for socialising with loved ones, better opportunities for exercise at suitable times, and a better method to fulfil your parental and caregiving duties. Although socioeconomic class and ethnicity are typically intertwined with geographic factors, remote work has been seen as giving people with previously limited employment options more options. However, it won’t be suitable for all workplaces.

Hybrid workplace

Not every employee wants to work entirely remotely or return to the office in its entirety. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 85% of working persons who worked from home at the time preferred a hybrid working environment. Some of the younger demographic may enjoy returning to the office to learn from and meet colleagues while utilising the benefits flexibility brings, whereas the older demographic may appreciate the chance to share their knowledge with those moving up the ranks while reducing their commute days. Some contend that adopting a hybrid strategy will aid companies in fostering stronger teamwork and better instilling their values among workers of all ages.

Benefits of Flexible working

Deloitte will enact a flexible public holiday policy that will provide UK workers the option of taking public holidays as annual leave at any time. If it were possible to observe public holidays that are closely connected to the UK/Christian calendar at other times of the year, say during another faith festival, a more diverse workforce might be attracted.

Not all business models lend themselves to flexible working arrangements, but when they do, employers ought to take some flexible initiatives into account. These programs might go a long way towards encouraging an inclusive and diverse workforce while also drawing in and keeping top talent.

Flexible holiday

A flexible public holiday policy will be implemented by Deloitte, allowing UK employees to choose when to take public holidays as annual leave. A more diversified workforce may be attracted if it were possible to observe public holidays that are closely tied to the UK/Christian calendar at other times of the year, say during another religion festival.

While not all business models are suitable for flexible working arrangements, employers should take certain flexible initiatives into consideration when they are. These initiatives may go a long way towards attracting and keeping the best talent as well as fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce.

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