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Bosses overwhelmingly in favour of flexible working

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Over 70% of British employers believe those who don’t offer flexible working will fail to attract talent


It’s official – to move with the times, employers need to realise that flexible working is becoming a deal-breaker for top job candidates.

According to business advisory and coaching group Vistage, 73% of British CEOs and business leaders believe companies that don’t offer flexible working will struggle to attract talent. And 59% said they’ve written flexible working options into their company’s job contracts as standard (36% said they would consider it or are looking into it already).

In addition, one in ten UK business leaders said they had implemented a four-day working week for their employees – and 45% said they would consider it in future.

All of this is encouraging, and a sign that flexible working is becoming more widely accepted thanks to the many benefits it brings for employers and employees alike.

Flexible working is even being debated in British Parliament and, if all goes well, it could eventually become a legal requirement for employers in Britain to advertise every job as flexible by default – unless they can give reasons why not.

Giving people more control over where and when they work helps to reduce the risk of burnout and achieve a better work-life balance. The end result is that an employee saves time and energy, which allows them to be more productive in their job.

On top of this, 47% of UK business leaders agreed that employees who set their own working hours were more productive. Flexible working also removes the barriers to employment faced by certain demographics, such as young parents, disabled people, older workers and carers. The option to work remotely, part-time or with hours outside of the standard nine-to-five working day means that companies attract and retain more diverse employees.

Even though the tide is turning, the Vistage research also highlighted that most employees drew the line when it came to offering unlimited holiday allowance. Only 3% of respondents said they allow their staff to choose the amount of holiday they take, and 70% of respondents had no long-term plans to introduce unlimited holiday pay.

Some employers still have reservations about flexible working. The research found that 28% of bosses are concerned that staff may abuse the privilege of flexible working hours, and that they’d take more time off than they should.

But flexible working doesn’t have to mean relying on staff to put in the hours and crossing your fingers they’re not bunking off. A flexible working policy might well incorporate the option for employees to work from home – yet it could also include a professional working environment in a more convenient location to cut down on commuting.

Business owners are increasingly opting to place their staff in local flexible offices and co-working spaces. The ubiquity of these means it’s easier than ever to find high-quality facilities in locations outside city centres and closer to employees’ homes.

Flexspace comes with the choice to pay for desks or private offices on a more cost-efficient basis – with the option of short leases and packages that reflect how much staff will actually be using them (a conventional office space typically locks a business into a lengthy lease).

In short, flexible office space goes hand-in-hand with flexible working and gives business owners the reassurance that their employees have the environment they need to do their best work, along with the freedom to build a better work/life balance.


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