Pre-2020, flexible working was often seen as more of a perk than a given. But after remote working became the norm for millions of us during the Covid-19 pandemic, it looks like flexible working is here to stay, and that going ‘back to work’ won’t look how it did before.
Flexible working can also be a great asset to businesses, providing employees with more autonomy and better work life balance, while businesses gain a wider pool of talent and more motivated employees.
In this blog, we’re sharing our top tips for businesses and employees on how to navigate the new normal of flexible working, and why creating a great flexible working culture should be a key part of your business strategy.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working is where an organisation has a flexible approach to where, when and what hours employees work, which could include:
- Remote working – a flexible work policy gives employees the opportunity to work from home or elsewhere, rather than only at the office.
- Flexible hours – employees can pick whether they would like to start work earlier or later, for example, 10am-6pm or 8am-4pm. Some businesses have done away with set hours altogether, saying that employees can work whatever hours they want, as long as they get the work done.
- Compressed hours -this could mean working longer hours over a number of days, so that an extra day can be taken off.
Flexible working for businesses
The events of the past year have shown just how quickly businesses and their employees can successfully adapt to flexible working.
Many small businesses tend to have a more relaxed attitude to flexible working, but larger corporations are moving to more flexible working practices too, accounting firm Deloitte is just one of many large corporations who have said that their UK employees can decide ‘when, where and how they work’.
Flexible working should be a key part of your business strategy as a way to attract and keep top talent. For many people, flexible working practices are a key requirement in a job, and a recent survey found that only 12% of office workers would be happy to go back to work full time in an office.
Benefits of flexible working
- Opportunities to attract the best people
Opportunities for flexible and remote working mean that businesses that would typically operate out of a certain location can broaden their talent pool, and find the best candidates without geographical location being a barrier.
As well as attracting the best talent, these opportunities can help to retain them too, as a life change such as moving cities or starting a family doesn’t mean that you have to leave your job if you can work remotely.
2. Better work life balance
Flexible working doesn’t always mean a better work-life balance, but it can certainly help by cutting commuting times to and from work. In the UK, the average commuting time is 69 minutes, meaning that flexibility remotely can free up plenty of free time either side of a working day and help prevent stress and burn out.
3. Increased motivation and productivity
Before the pandemic forced many of us to work from home, many of us worried that working from home could lead to reduced motivation and productivity. Actually, it looks like the opposite is true, 58% of UK workers believe that they are actually more productive working from home, without the distractions of an office.
Tips for successful flexible working
- Choice is key
Although some of us may want to work fully remote, others are experiencing serious ‘zoom fatigue’ and missing real life interactions with other people. That’s why giving employees the choice to come into the office when they would like to is a way to keep most people happy and productive at work. If you are a small business, it might not be cost effective to have an office all the time, but you could decide on a few days a week where employees can come together at a coworking space to enjoy the benefits of in person collaboration.
2. Be aware of barriers
For flexible working to work in the long-term, it’s important that businesses address potential barriers that employees may have, such as a lack of equipment, which could negatively impact their ability to do their job remotely. Investing in equipment for employees is key to keep people engaged and happy whilst working remotely.
3. Prioritise social interaction
Just because we are working more flexibly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prioritise culture at your business. Having a Microsoft Teams or Slack page for your team can help ensure that everyone is communicating well, and creating a calendar of both virtual and in-person social events means that everyone feels included.
Lessons from Social Chameleon
Chameleons are adaptive creatures, and as digital marketers, we spend a lot of time looking ahead to the future of business in order to help businesses adapt to a rapidly changing digital landscape.
Social Chameleon launched in early 2020 and we have grown rapidly in the past year. Like many businesses, our team of creatives have worked remotely during this time and a number of new team members have also joined us remotely.
Like many other businesses, we believe that flexible working is the future, and will continue to offer flexible working options to our team as we continue to grow. The freedom that flexible working offers allows our team to work where suits them best, and to offer the best possible service for our clients.
The way we work is changing and at Social Chameleon, we have been trusted by businesses of all shapes and sizes to transform their digital marketing strategy and deliver real results.
Whatever your digital needs, our team of experts are here to help, with services including, SEO, email marketing and social media. Get in touch with our expert team today at firstname.lastname@example.org