New Survey Finds 85% Experienced An Increase In Productivity Due To Flexible Working

I wonder how many of you got a chance to review the recent online survey carried out by BakkerElkhuizen among HR professionals in Germany, England, Belgium and the Netherlands on the theme ‘Flexible Working’.  What made it particularly interesting to me was that UK came out top of the table when it came to organisations that had already implemented flexible working.  

Table1

 

Here are some of the findings I found particularly noteworthy:

The motivation for organisations to implement flexible working: The survey found that in the UK, 85% of HR professionals saw a rise in productivity and generally in the UK, Germany and Belgium, the main argument for flexible working was “higher staff satisfaction”, the exception was in the Netherlands where cost-savings on buildings and workstations was more compelling.

 The top 3 most important reasons why flexible working has not yet been implemented:

  • Companies are still looking into the possibilities of flexible working
  • Staff are tied to a fixed place and time because of their specific duties
  • The organisation feels that the presence of staff is necessary.

The main reason given not to implement flexible working: When an organisation did not see any advantages in flexible working, they gave the reason that it is not possible for all staff to work at varying times and/or places and that they wish to treat all staff equally. At most organisations flexible working is not possible across all members of the workforce.

Infrastructure and support for flexible working: Unsurprisingly, ICT infrastructure was seen as the most essential tool for flexible working by half of the respondents in England, the Netherlands and Belgium.

My organisation does have the infrastructure available to manage a remote workforce and experience has shown that it is an important requirement is for flexible workers to have all the information and security they would find in an office environment available at home or on the move. Also important is the ability to track and monitor employee productivity and hours worked and a modern workforce management solution makes this much easier.

You can download the full survey report here and why not take a look at this free white paper: Reaping the Rewards Of Flexible Working to learn more about flexible working.

The ‘Me, Me Generation’ Have Come Of Age

Gen YOver the last few weeks it’s been really interesting  observing the increasing amount of media coverage about generational differences in the workplace and how employers can keep their multi-generational workforce engaged and motivated.

Statistics suggest that 50 per cent of UK employees will be Millennials within a year. With the Millennials (also known as Gen Y – a generation that were born between the early 80’s and early 2000’s) now flooding the workforce and who will  soon be occupying more senior roles in businesses – it seems an appropriate time for businesses to take a closer look at how they will the meet their needs .  Think about this, the first Generation Y CEO (born after 1980) to lead a British FTSE company is expected to be appointed by 2016, according to Deloitte’s Upwardly Mobile report.

Millenials are often labelled as the ‘me, me’ generation who have an inflated sense of entitlement and believe there is nothing to learn from the older generation. And according to an article in IoD Connect, it seems, now we are getting to understand them better, they have been misunderstood and many people will have to change their views.  It appears Gen Y are actually a happy, ambitious and vocationally-minded workforce. Based on the finding of the City & Guilds organisation’s edition of its Career Happiness Index, Millennials are ‘positive, high-aiming, go-getters, who are eager to learn’ (as well as being ‘tech-savvy and hyper-connected’!), and if this is true I can’t see any organisation having an issue with a Gen Y workforce.

But as with all employees – how they are managed and treated by their employers can make the difference difference between having a productive fully engaged and motivated workforce or one that is disengaged and unproductive. So how can employers keep this high-flying generation engaged?

  • Positive Feedback – if your Millennial does something well –tell them.
  • Training/development – they are highly ambitious generation – help them achieve those ambitions and retain good talent.
  • Challenge them as individuals and teams – Set them tasks/projects that mean they have to solve problems or learn new skills.
  • Create a positive and inclusive environment – Millennials want (as we all do) to be happy at work – so help ensure that the workplace is a good environment to be in.

With two successful Gen Ys still living with us, I’m possibly risking family harmony blogging about this subject, here’s hoping not too much, as we might need looking after in our twilight years.

How much does your smoking employee cost you in lost productivity?

No smoking!This morning whilst travelling to work, I was listening to Nick Ferrari on the radio (LBC97.3) and an item that caught my attention. It was about smokers and how they cost companies, on average, £4,000 per year to employ more than their non-smoking colleagues due to lost productivity and increased insurance costs. Looking up the research later online I found an article from the International Business Times online that references the same research. It showed that absences cost businesses £344 per smoker, lower productivity amounted to £307, smoking-breaks were £2,045 and excess healthcare costs were £1,367. Which is why in the US companies are already introducing policies for smokers, some actually refuse to employ people who smoke because of the negative effects on productivity and the related costs. I guess it will be just a matter of time before we hear of UK organisations doing the same.

Following the ban on smoking in public enclosed spaces, that came into force in the UK five years ago, there appears little evidence to suggest smokers have given up smoking in huge numbers (as can be seen in the figures produced by the ONS – see table below). It appears that it has merely changed the behavioural habits of smokers – as we see by the numbers of smokers who congregate outside their workplaces to smoke. Arguably, the non-smoking policy that has driven this change in behaviour has contributed to an even greater loss of productivity. After all, when smokers were able to smoke whilst they worked – they continued to be productive, albeit potentially damaging the health of others through passive smoking.

I do wonder how many organisations specifically monitor cigarette breaks. Monitoring productivity by tracking time lost for breaks and sickness absence could help highlight the difference in an organisation between smokers and non-smoking employees. This in turn could help to support changes in workplace policies that would drive good health, increased productivity and cost savings. Organisations that deploy an automated workforce management solution will find it easier to capture accurate employee productivity data, therefore making informed decisions becomes more straightforward and fairer for all.

Percentage of Adults Smoking