Flexible working: How important is it?

Interviews: What should the interviewer be doing?
January 19, 2018
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February 9, 2018

Flexible working has never been a hotter topic than it is right now. Everyone seems to want it, but, does everyone need it? With an increasing pressure on workers today to put in more hours, be contactable at all times of the day, run homes, bring up families, keep fit, have a social life, travel…  at Urbanberry Recruitment we say YES! Employers NEED to offer new ways of working that fit in with the busy and challenging lives we all lead in 2018.

Let’s start with what flexible working means in today’s work place as it often throws up an uncomfortable silence if a candidate asks about it during an interview. In fact, candidates get nervous about mentioning it to a prospective employer in case it makes them come across as “awkward”, “looking for an early finish” or “not a team player”.   For those employers in the know, they realise that offering their staff a degree of flexibility during the working week can:

INCREASE productivityINCREASE staff retention,  DECREASE ill healthhave a POSITIVE effect on staff morale and a create a HAPPIER work/life balance for everyone.

Flexible working can be a variation of contracts including:

  • Reduced working hours
  • Earlier starts/later finishes
  • Working from home part of the week
  • Condensing 5 days work in to 4 long days and having one day in the week off
  • Allowing people of the same seniority in a role to job share

So what are the barriers that stop all employers throwing down the gauntlet and entering the ring of the flexible working policy?

Not all jobs can be done from home:  It’s true. You can’t be a police officer from home. But you CAN do a lot of computer based roles from the comfort of your home office. Maybe not every day, but the option to be able to do it when required is a real welcome benefit for most employee’s.

What if everyone in the workplace wants to leave at 4pm? Whilst it’s unlikely, employers panic that opening the door for one or two members of staff means the rest will follow suit. But this mentality has to change- people ask for flexibility because their lives at this time require it – maybe they have childcare commitments or are helping to care for an elderly relative. Showing support to staff during tricky patches in their career will no doubt earn an employer loyalty and respect- two things that will also result in an excellent employee.

We must recognise that EVERY individual has needs both outside and inside of work and these can change as we go through our careers. Parents of young children should not be forced to leave their jobs because they are unable to leave work an hour earlier, people who find it difficult to travel in to an office every day should be allowed to explore home working options and ANYONE who seeks to gain a better work/life balance for whatever reason should be permitted to find a solution that suits them, and their employer.

For support in how to ascertain whether a company offers flexible working before your interview, or, if you’re an employer and would like to know more about what candidates want in 2018, please contact us for a chat! emma@urbanberry.co.uk or caroline@urbanberry.co.uk

(lovely flexible picture courtest of Pixabay.com)

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