Flexible Working Myth Busting
Here at That Works For Me we eat, sleep and breathe flexible working. It’s our normal, our constant, our passion. But can that be said for every business and organisation? Sadly, the answer is probably not yet. But we know this is changing and we are determined to support this, day by day and one step at a time. So we want to take the opportunity to bust some of those flexible working myths.
Flexible working matters
It’s almost been 2 decades since the UK Government first introduced the right to request flexible working for parents and carers (2003). We were in our twenties…and, a little bit more than a bit oblivious to this. We don’t remember anything in the news, or on social media. And, to be honest, we really didn’t care. We were new graduates with our whole careers ahead of us. We had few responsibilities in life and could work whatever hours the job required without needing to give it a second thought!
Fast forward another (ahem) 15 years (and a few more) and things couldn’t be more different. Not only do we have multiple small people hanging off our every word, we need to be able to provide them with support and manage childcare around our careers.
And, more than that, we want to work, we want a career.
Why isn’t everyone working flexibly?
So…nearly 20 years later why isn’t flexible working the norm?
Everyone (yes, EVERYONE), regardless of having small people, now has the legal right to request flexible working. Wonderful!
So, you would naturally assume flexible working requests have gone up right?
Wrong. Since 2010 the percentage of the UK workforce adopting smarter ways of working has not raised above 27 per cent (according to CIPD). This is baffling. And we, at That Works For Me, want to know why. We want a better understanding of why employers aren’t embracing flexible working and all the wonderful benefits that go with it!
Flexible working myth busting
Having chatted to some of our lovely business clients we believe the following myths are still being banded around, and we want to put them to bed…
Myth 1: Productivity will decrease
How many of you, as employers, have worried about offering flexible working as you feel it will affect productivity and profit? Come on, be honest?
This is simply not true. And we can prove it. A survey by HSBC report into the technology sector, found that 89% of respondents cited flexible working as a motivation to be more productive at work. A study looking at 16,000 Chinese workers conducted by Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom found those allowed to work flexibly from home increased their productivity by 13% they reported higher work satisfaction and took less sick leave than their office-bound counterparts.
And if you need any more proof, take a leaf out of Microsoft Japan’s book. They have recently trialled the 4 day working week (A-mazing) and they watched productivity increase by a whopping 40% as well as recording less sickness and higher motivation.
And, this doesn’t even touch on the environmental benefits. Less paper consumption (23%) and less electricity used (59%). For you employers out there, that’s less overheads. Double bonus!
Put simply, giving employees the option to work flexibly boosts staff morale, aids health and wellbeing, and ultimately increases productivity.
Myth 2: Flexible working will cost businesses more
We get it. Small and medium businesses have to watch every penny and taking a punt on flexible working feels like a risk you just don’t want to take.
Well, we are strong believers that flexible working won’t cost you any more. In fact, you are likely to save money. Satisfied staff are more likely to hang around, therefore reducing turnover and recruitment costs. Equally if you’re seen as a business that actively promotes flexible working then start shouting it from the roof tops, word travels fast and soon you will be able to choose from a bigger pool of talent and hire faster.
Myth 3: ‘Flexible working’ means ‘part time’
If you’re paying someone to work for you, you need results. We get that! Flexible working doesn’t change this.
The perception is still around that if you aren’t physically at your desk between 9am to 5pm you aren’t doing your job. Strange to think this, given that only 6% of the workforce still work from 9am to 5pm.
Shifting this misconception requires a culture change, championed by senior leaders changing working practices from the top down. Go on. Be that leader. Talk about dropping your children off at school. Be vocal about taking your grandmother to collect her pension. We’re all people at the end of the day!
That Works For Me can help
We launched our That Works For Me platform 2 months ago and we are living proof that there are people out there who are looking for jobs that work for them, we have in the region of 700 people actively looking for flexible roles or projects.
If we have busted those myths for you, then become one of those employers who want to attract, retain and motivate your employees by creating opportunities that genuinely work for them, whatever their age, life stage or ambition.
Trust us (and the abundance of research), your employees will be happier and have better well-being – but they will be just as ambitious and still have that thirst to do well, perform and progress.
Register with us now and find incredible people to help your business.
*Slightly different rules apply for Northern Ireland