MTI Strategic Reflections

The benefits of flexible working

One obvious way to help employees achieve work-life balance is to offer them flexibility of where they work from and what times they work – at least on some days of the week where they need this flexibility most. Yet, why do most companies, including the ones that are in technology / connectivity, insist on a physical show of presence at the office premises – much like what landlords expect from peasants!  Research indicates that flexible work arrangements may reduce stress because employees working on flexi-time and shifts are generally more satisfied with their jobs, more satisfied with their lives, and experience better work-family balance.
 
Although the business environment has constantly been subject to change, this pace of change is now more rapid than ever. Consequently customer expectations have changed, with the advent of web and social media; they expect goods and services outside traditional business hours. Contrarily employees seek to strike a balance between work and home life. Caught in the middle, organizations strive to satisfy customers while trying to match their employee needs. Flexible work patterns tend to address these issues by giving employees the flexibility at work which would capitalize on employee productivity while catering to the dire needs of customers.
 
A study conducted amongst 19000 employees from distinct industries and large multinational companies indicated that greater levels of flexibility were typically linked with better health and reduced stress levels.
 
Apart from the employee motivation and productivity benefits, think of the time and ‘energy’ savings on commuting, attiring and office space. Perhaps companies could consider flexi-times, part-time working, temporary contracts, or even job sharing, shift-working and home working. It maybe that your staff requirement may fluctuate during the year due to seasonal peaks and troughs, you could then perhaps consider annualized working hours. Yet why do Boards / CEOs not encourage this?