The topic of flexible working and how it can improve employee engagement has been around for some while now and I have covered it several times in my blog. It is also big news, and as seen in recent comments by Marissa Mayer, often perceived as just a perk for employees while employers question the quantifiable business benefits and feel that it can be too difficult to manage well.
One of the more quantifiable benefits that has recently been reported is that offering flexible working, particularly home working, can help lower business costs by reducing the number of desks and office space required by organisations. A recent survey carried out by Vodafone UK and YouGov showed that businesses are significantly underestimating the cost of the desks saved with employers estimating £441 per desk when the average UK saving is actually £5,746. With employers participating in the survey who agreed they could reduce desk space suggesting they could save on average 46 desks; this could work out a huge cost saving for some organisations.
In the public sector flexitime is quite common, with almost 73 % already benefiting however this falls to 16% in the private sector according to a survey carried out by Douglas Scott and reported in AskGrapevine HR online magazine. The report on the survey shows that, in the law sector, flexible working is top of employee benefits. And I am sure there are many other areas in the private sector that this holds true. Hardly surprising is the fact that women employees value this perk even more highly than men as they often have care responsibilities that they have to juggle to fit in with their working responsibilities. As we all wake up to the reality of the aging workforce, competition for skills and if private sector organisations want to retain talent or be seen as a top employer; then the statistics suggest it would be a good idea for them to seriously consider the benefits, where possible, of flexible working such as reduced desk costs, talent retention and improved productivity.
If one of the things holding your organisation back from implementing a flexible working policy is the worry about how to manage a more flexible labour force then a workforce management solution can help. If you want to know more here is a whitepaper that could be of interest: Reaping the Rewards of Flexible Working and if you have any experiences of managing a flexible workforce – good or bad then please share them with me.