Flexible Working: How to Make It Work for You
Flexible working is a trend where companies and employees work together to ensure that workers have more flexibility in their working hours while having access to health care, pension benefits and other aspects of employee life. Work should be flexible so that individuals can better adapt to their lifestyle while receiving the same level of support from the employer.
In the modern world, flexibility has become the new normal. But what does it mean to work flexibly, and how can you benefit from it? In today's modern world, where employers and employees are increasingly flexible, it is time to adapt and get used to working flexibly. And that may be precisely what you need.
Flexibility is no longer just for freelancers and consultants who can choose when to work and how. It's for everyone in the office, whether working from home, doing a part-time job, working from home a couple of days a week or taking some time off to travel.
But what does flexible working mean, and how can you benefit from it? Today, flexibility has become the new norm. The move towards more flexibility means employers and employees are increasingly adapting to change. We are starting to see an evolution from the traditional 9-5 office model to something more flexible and unpredictable.
Flexible working isn't just a trend; it's a way of life. And it's a trend that is becoming increasingly popular among millennials. But if you're unsure how flexible working will work for you, here's a guide to help you decide.
What is Flexible Working?
Flexible working involves the ability to do your work without physical restrictions while remaining productive. Flexible working is vital to any employee, and the key to achieving success is to build a foundation of flexible working into the organisational structure.
Employers should support flexible working environments, allowing employees to balance their workloads with their personal and professional lives. That means being flexible in terms of time, location, and tasks. For example, if an employee's job involves working from home occasionally, you should accommodate that without the need for formal flexible working arrangements.
Flexible working should include flexible schedules, work arrangements, and performance management policies. When an employer requires you to perform specific tasks at a particular time and location, it often creates an inflexible and unproductive environment.
Work-life balance is an integral part of flexible working. While flexibility is essential in all aspects of life, two things are significant to consider when balancing work with family life.
First, suppose your workplace requires you to be available outside regular working hours. In that case, you must be flexible regarding your ability to provide the same level of service to clients or customers during those extra hours. If your clients want to reach you at 11 pm or on the weekends, you need to be flexible about accommodating them.
Second, you must ensure that you give yourself a reasonable amount of time off. While it's common for many people to work 12-hour shifts, the truth is that the human body isn't designed to work that long.
Ask your manager or HR professional what is expected from you and how much time off you can reasonably take. Most employers won't expect you to work non-stop, but they may ask you to be available for emergencies or to provide updates to your team and clients.
While you can't always predict the unexpected, you should have the plan to help you manage a healthy work-life balance.
What are the benefits of flexible working?
Many studies have shown that flexible working arrangements can boost employee productivity and satisfaction, increase business profitability, and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism. But it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks. Here are four of the top concerns and ways to minimise their impact:
Costs to businesses and employers
Many companies adopt flexible working to save money, but that doesn't mean they can afford to. It may cost them more to provide flexible working benefits than they save in reduced worker turnover and absenteeism. That's because flexible workers tend to be younger, more educated, and less expensive than regular employees.
As a result, they are more likely to demand higher wages and benefits.
To maintain the same profit margins, employers may need to raise prices, hire fewer employees, or pay more to retain flexible workers.
For that reason, many companies offer voluntary flexible working only for those employees willing to accept lower wages and benefits.
Another challenge that comes with flexible working is employee commitment. If workers are offered flexible work arrangements without the assurance that their current jobs are secure, they may become disenchanted and feel the arrangement is not worthwhile.
Worker motivation and productivity
Some studies have also found that flexible working may reduce employee motivation and productivity.
The most recent research, published in 2015, suggested that although flexible working increased employee satisfaction and the willingness to work overtime, it did not increase employee productivity.
It's difficult to conclude the limited number of studies conducted on this topic, but flexible working has a mixed effect on employee productivity.
Before implementing flexible working, employers should ensure that their existing workforce is committed to the new arrangement. This is particularly true if flexible working is implemented in a decentralised way.
Job security and protection
Although flexible working benefits employers, it is a disadvantage to employees. Many are reluctant to give up the stability of a permanent job.
For this reason, some employers restrict their flexible work benefits to part-time positions.
Some studies have also found that flexible working may increase stress levels among workers.
Workers uncertain about work security or fear for their jobs may feel anxious or experience higher stress and anxiety levels.
However, these adverse effects can be offset by offering flexible work with the understanding that employees' jobs are not guaranteed.
Should you offer flexible working arrangements?
This question comes up often, and most people want flexible work options. The problem is that no two people are exactly alike. So, if you are one of the many people that need flexibility, here are four things to keep in mind as you try to figure out which flexible work arrangement might be right for you.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Let's say you are a person who gets more done if you are in the office from 9 am until 5 pm, but if you can take a midday break or work from home three days a week, that would be great. You can make that work by offering your employee flexible options.
You may seem to be giving them more freedom, but you aren't. You've just given them more options. It doesn't hurt your business if they choose to go to lunch or work from home instead of showing up to work.
Regarding flexible working arrangements, your employees are like every other business. They want to know their options, what they are offered, and how that impacts their lives.
Think of it this way. Let's say you own a coffee shop. Some people drink coffee all day, while others need a break after lunch or dinner. If you give everyone coffee at any time, you limit the number of times customers can buy coffee.
Similarly, you can give your employees the ability to work from wherever they want, but they may need something else. So, be clear about what they are getting and don't assume they will choose the best option.
Do What Works For You
For some people, it works better to have their hours staggered than flexible working hours. That may be the case for your company, too.
Ask your employees what works for them. Can they get to the office on time and complete their tasks before they need to leave? If yes, then flexible hours may not work for your business.
Consider a Work From Home Policy
There are several reasons why your employees may prefer to work from home.
- You may not have an office space or a designated work area.
- They may have a family to care for.
- They may have a chronic illness or injury that makes it challenging to be in the office.
You may find that your employees prefer working from home, but they don't realise that it may not be ideal for your company. If that's the case, consider creating a work-from-home policy that allows them to work from home when needed.
Be Clear About Your Policies
Asking for flexibility is different from offering it. Just as your coffee shop owner has to be clear about their policies, you have to be clear about your expectations.
For example, if you require that your employees show up for the entire eight-hour workday, that is what they need to do. However, if you can allow them to work part-time or from home for some hours, communicate that.
That way, your employees will be aware of their options, and they can make an informed decision.
How Flexible Working can Improve Job Satisfaction
The first step to addressing job satisfaction is understanding what causes it and why. Job satisfaction is more than just happiness; it reflects whether someone feels their work contributes to a greater purpose or something meaningful.
While job satisfaction is subjective, it seems closely related to flexibility in working hours, career choice, and workplace culture. In one study of a group of workers with varying degrees of flexibility, job satisfaction was higher for those who had flexibility regarding where they could work and when.
Those who worked flexible schedules reported being more satisfied with their jobs than those required to be in a specific location and work the same number of hours weekly.
Interestingly, there was no difference between those with and without flexibility in their schedules in terms of job satisfaction when it came to scheduling flexibility. This suggests that, in the short term, the flexibility of the schedule does not matter in terms of job satisfaction. Instead, having the flexibility to adjust your schedule is what matters most.
However, when looking at other aspects of flexible working arrangements, job satisfaction is higher for those with more control over their schedule. One study of nurses found that the ability to decide when and where to work is a top predictor of job satisfaction. It is also interesting to note that while job satisfaction is high in jobs requiring a flexible schedule, job satisfaction is lowest for those required to be in a specific location and work the same number of hours weekly.
Flexibility in Working Hours
Working hours are the main contributor to job satisfaction. While many people would say that they don't mind the flexibility of a part-time job or telecommuting, the reality is that, in many cases, it is only the flexibility of hours that makes the difference. In one study, respondents were asked to identify the factors that made them satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs. Respondents rated flexibility of working hours as the most significant factor in determining job satisfaction.
One reason that flexible working hours are so highly correlated to job satisfaction is that it allows people to adapt to circumstances that might otherwise be stressful. Choosing when and where to work makes it possible to avoid dealing with situations that might otherwise cause anxiety or stress.
Another reason that flexibility in working hours is so highly correlated to job satisfaction is that it allows people to plan their lives and balance work and personal commitments more effectively. When a job requires that you work the same hours every week, there is no flexibility in terms of when you will go to bed or get up for the day. Adjusting to these circumstances enables people to live their lives more effectively.
Job Satisfaction and Career Choice
Another significant factor that determines job satisfaction is your ability to choose your career path. In one study, job satisfaction was shown to be higher for those who chose their career paths rather than finding jobs based on someone else's direction.
In another study, respondents were asked how their career choice affected their job satisfaction. One of the results of this study was that workers who started their careers in a job chosen by others were less likely to be satisfied with their work than those who started in a career they chose. This suggests that career choice can significantly impact your job satisfaction.
A Career That Supports Flexibility
The flexibility to change jobs or shift to different kinds of work is the best way to determine if you'll be happy in your current job.
In one survey of workers, respondents were asked about their current job and satisfaction with it. The two things most strongly associated with job satisfaction were “whether I felt like my job was a good fit for me” and “whether I liked the company or organisation I worked for.”
If you're unhappy with your current job, try to understand why. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What kind of skills, knowledge, and experience do you have? What kind of work interests you, and what is your boss asking you to do?
Having the flexibility to take advantage of these things can make all the difference in your job satisfaction. It also helps to understand what your potential future employer is looking for in terms of skill sets.
By choosing a career path that enables flexibility, you will likely have greater job satisfaction, making you a more productive, valuable employee.
Flexible working is all about taking advantage of the flexibility and freedom that comes with a part-time job.
While working full-time for a big company, I used flexible working hours to balance work and family life. While I could take a break whenever I wanted, I constantly juggled work-life balance.
I didn't have this problem when I left to work part-time. Instead, I found that I had more time to spend with my family with them and enjoy life to the fullest.
Flexible working is an excellent solution for many people. It allows them to get a job they're passionate about while still enjoying the freedom of spending time with their families.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working is when you work from home or anywhere else. It's when you work from your schedule or your employer's.
What are some benefits of flexible working?
Some benefits of flexible working are that you have more control over your work hours and schedule. You can work when you want and work for as long as you want.
How do I get started with flexible working?
You can start with flexible working by making your work environment more flexible. For example, working from home makes your workspace more mobile.
How do I request a flexible working arrangement?
Flexible working is a two-way street. It is something other than what you should expect from your boss. You have to ask for it. You might say, “I would like to work some evenings and on the weekends because I need to spend more time with my kids.”
How can I make flexible working work for me?
You can do a few things to make flexible work. You can negotiate your schedule with your boss. You can ask to work on the weekends. You can ask to work some evenings. You can also negotiate how long you work each day.
What are some things I should consider when working flexibly?
When working flexibly, you may have to set up rules and boundaries. For example, you may have to tell your boss that you won't work at the weekend.