Working 9-5: No longer the way to make a living as flexible working takes over!

Headlines today announce that as little as 6% of the UK population work the standard 9-5 day (according to a YouGov survey), suggesting that more and more UK workers are opting for flexible arrangements with their employers. The last few years has seen a dramatic shift towards more control and choice for the candidate and employee, and with the fight for technical talent fiercer than ever it is no surprise that more and more companies are flexing their offering to accommodate the desires of the employee. Whether you offer flexible working or not at your organisation, it is worth noting that as many as 75% of UK employees claim to favour flexible working options, so if you’re struggling to attract the right talent (or even worse find you are losing your best employees) then it could be time for a change! Here are 4 ways you can incorporate flexibility into your organisation:

Compressed hours

A compressed work week is where the “standard” work week is reduced to fewer than five days, and employees make up the full contracted hours per week by working longer days. So for example the 9-5 over five days (with an hour lunch break) would deliver a 35 hour work week in total, which could be changed to 8-6 over four days (with an hour lunch break). The employees clock up the exact same hours in the office but have three days off a week instead of two freeing up more time to do more of the things they like without compromising on a full-time contract / salary.

Job sharing

For many organisations, allowing employees to switch from full-time to part-time is not an option for them. Full time contracts simply cannot work for everyone – it may be due to family / childcare commitments, or personal preference, but if you are unable to offer part-time as a work option to your employees then you could be isolating a large portion of your potential work-force. One option to ensure that the offer of part-time doesn’t leave you short on work done is to consider a job-sharing option. This is basically where two employees literally divide a job between them to cover a single full-time job. To ensure this is successful the two employees would need to work together well, have excellent communication between themselves and ideally employ the right technology to ensure a smooth project hand-over as their days in the office cross-over.

Different start time

The problem with the 9-5 is that so many people are commuting at that same time – roads, trains and buses are highly congested as the masses make their journeys to work / school etc. and as a result a commute that could take just 20 minutes can often be driven up to an hour-long traffic filled hell! Not the best way to set you up for a day of work! If your employees hate the rush hour then why not consider an option of an early start (with an early finish!). A lot of people would favour an 8-4 or a 7-3 day because the commute is easier, and it leaves more time after work for family / social activities!

Work from home

For some the ultimate flexible working involves no (or very little) time in the office, with the option to work from home or hot desk from a location of their choice. Depending on the job role in question there is often no real reason that an employee would need to be sat in your office to fulfil the requirements of their job role, although some argue that team collaboration and company culture is highly enforced by having your employees on site working together. Many employees would find that a role that offers the flexibility to work in the office or from home when preferred works best for them – it can be the perfect solution for the days where you don’t want to fork out for expensive childcare or you need somebody home to allow access for the gas man to come and service your boiler!

Work-life balance is an important factor to us all, and employees can capture a bit more of that “life” part without having to take a direct cut on how much they “work” then you have achieved the best of both worlds! Your current employees are more likely to be engaged and happy in their role (and therefore more productive) and less likely to leave you for an employer who offers better flexible working options!

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