During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a steep rise in the number of people working flexibly from home. In fact, studies showed that around 47% of employees in the UK worked from home during the first national lockdown. While a lot has changed since then, and we have moved away from restrictions, working culture has changed significantly. Some 50% of parents reported that they would prefer a more flexible approach to work in the future in the wake of the first lockdown. Additionally, further research has shown that managers have had positive experiences of looking after their teams remotely. On top of this, many organisations even reported increases in productivity and commitment during lockdowns. The worst days of the pandemic are behind us. As a result it seems like the future of working will be more flexible. Here are some reasons why.
It Benefits Employers
Before the pandemic, businesses were already waking up to the benefits of flexible or remote working practices. However, the idea became much more widespread as a result of lockdowns. When people were forced to stay at home to work, there were genuine concerns about productivity declines.
However, it is now becoming clear that the benefits for employers greatly outweigh the negatives. Catering to the needs of employees and allowing them to work in a way that suits their schedule and lives best can lead to much higher levels of staff satisfaction.
Maintaining a happy and committed workforce is one of the most important aspects of managing any business. When companies fail to do this, they risk increasing staff turnover. This can lead to much higher expenditure and also impact morale and commitment among other team members.
The Infrastructure is Here
Technology has advanced to such a degree that it is now possible to work remotely without any noticeable difference from working in an office. With the improvement in communication and collaboration tools, employees can successfully share information and work with their team from wherever they find themselves.
This was another thing that was accelerated by the pandemic. Before lockdowns, the idea that communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom could replace face-to-face interactions was laughable. However, in the wake of Covid-19, people noticed a minimal drop-off in productivity when people were using these programmes every day.
Additionally, many other services are now emerging to facilitate flexible working arrangements. An excellent example of this is Matrix Booking. Professionals can find workspaces wherever they are using their desk booking system. Such solutions are perfect for people that find themselves travelling for work or those who are working remotely.
Ultimately, with technology advancing at the pace it is currently, there are fewer hurdles in the way of flexible working arrangements. People can achieve similar levels of productivity while also attaining a more favourable work-life balance.
It Allows Companies to Attract the Best Candidates
As mentioned above, striking the right work-life balance is becoming increasingly important for much of the workforce. Companies that offer their staff flexible working arrangements can use this to attract the best talent possible.
Businesses that take this approach can demonstrate their liberal and forward-thinking practices to prospective employees. It shows candidates that an organisation is willing to accommodate their requirements and can make a huge difference to individuals when deciding between companies.
Adopting flexible working practices promotes loyalty and commitment among the workforce. This also applies to new hires, so it can be an excellent perk to offer when recruiting.
There Are Fewer Sick Days
When peoples’ work-life balance is not optimal, it can lead to stress and unplanned absences. Therefore, taking steps to promote a better work-life balance among the workforce can do wonders for their health and general wellbeing.
Additionally, many employees will have appointments during the day, taking as much as a morning or afternoon out of their work schedule. With the push towards flexible working arrangements, it has become clear that standard nine to five roles are not sustainable.
As a result, when companies allow their employees to choose hours that suit them, they often experience much lower rates of unplanned absence. Ultimately, this is a win-win since employees are happier and healthier, and productivity in the organisation remains high.
On the whole, it seems as though the future of work will be a more flexible one. Many companies are now adopting remote or hybrid working practices without seeing a noticeable decline in productivity. On the contrary, the push towards flexible working arrangements has been beneficial for both employers and their staff since people tend to feel more valued and loyal to an organisation when their needs are accommodated. Nowadays, we are more connected to one another than ever before thanks to the internet, so fewer barriers prevent people from taking a flexible approach to their working lives.
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