In recent years there has been no end of research into whether achieving a better work/life balance can positively affect the happiness and productivity of your staff.
On a very simplistic level, finding a good balance makes perfect sense. If your employees are working fewer hours, they have more time to recharge their batteries and recover from the working day. But does it work in practice?
I’m incredibly grateful that Element Recruitment gives me the flexibility to work from home a couple of days a week. It allows me to be more efficient – and without a long, tiring commute at the end of the day, I get to spend more time with my family or doing the things that I find enjoyable and relaxing.
So is the penny beginning to drop with employers? I work closely with businesses across all sectors and it’s really pleasing to see so many of them promoting a more flexible culture. Where once it was a bit of a novelty to see a company offer hot-desking or flexi-working, today it’s becoming much more common. I’ve also recently seen a rise in employers offering the opportunity to do a condensed working week – putting in a longer day but then maybe leaving at lunchtime on a Friday.
From a candidate’s perspective too I’m noticing a change. When job hunting, they’re increasingly asking me if organisations offer flexible working patterns. It’s definitely something that’s at the top of many people’s list of new job ‘must-haves’.
So if you’re an employer, here are a few options you might want to consider offering your workforce.
- A longer working day but for only 9 days each fortnight.
- Working the same hours but spread throughout the day so you can leave early, do the school run/exercise/study and then log on again later in the evening.
- Allowing time off to do something in the community like charity work or football coaching on a Friday afternoon.
- Letting your employees leave work early if they’ve finished their work – not expecting them to stay at their desk pretending to be busy.
- Time off to study and develop new skills which can be helpful to your business.
By offering flexible hours, or the opportunity to work from home, you’re sending out a clear signal that there’s a level of trust between you and your employees. Something that goes a long way in building loyalty and helping you retain staff in this competitive market.
If you’d like to know more about helping your employees achieve a better work/life balance, or how you can find a company that offers a working pattern like this, you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 0117 369 9000.