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Flexible Working - why should you be interested?

Posted in Employers on Aug 06, 2018 by Keeley Edge

We are delighted that Hayley Richardson of Change the Chat has agreed to be our guest blogger this month. As a Flexible Hiring Champion for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, who else better to provide further insight and eliminate the taboo around flexible working.

So flexible working is the ‘hot topic’ right now…but what even is it and- even more importantly as a business- why should I be interested?! The modern world and the way we do business, buy products, communicate with people has changed. Yet how we work really hasn’t. We still talk ‘office hours’, ‘working days’ ….  We still work in a 9-5, 5 days a week mentality. In fact, since the industrial revolution the way we work hasn’t changed in line with how the other elements of society have changed and those changes influence how and why we have to or want to work.

So first of all let’s debunk the myths

Flexible working isn’t just about a part time contract. I’ve worked flexibly for the last 10 years, 7 of those were before children and I’ve always worked full time hours, just a bit more creatively. Flexibility is not just an action, it’s a mind-set. It is about a way of working that suits the employee’s needs as well as the business needs. An alternative to traditional set hours. The approach isn’t an all or nothing, it can, and is, about empowering employees to do the job, rather than monitoring how much time they spend at their desks. But importantly the very fact that is about both the employer AND the employee-meaning that companies that have this approach, have an engaged and productive workforce.

Flexible working can be any of the following; Part Time, Annualised Hours, Compressed Full time hours, Term time work, Core hours, Job share, working remotely, flexi time and more. It can be as much or a little as you need. It is not an all or nothing, and you can do all or a combination or just one … its flexible!

So since 2014, all employees have had the right to request flexible working but that’s not what this is about. This is about shifting your mind-set.

Here’s why you should be interested…

It increases engagement, productivity, profitability and innovation in your organisation. Many studies are proving the positive outcomes for business who are already do it. IT IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS.  

In companies that have this approach, a recent survey reported a 75% positive impact on retention, 73% boosts staff motivation and 66% improves efficiency and productivity. As well as the reductions in sickness and turnover!

It diversifies and future proofs your workforce and your organisation. This is not just a working parents issue. Most millennials want flexibility. 92% of under 35’s surveyed in 2017 wanted to work flexibly. They are the future of your workforce, the individuals that will take your business forward. Start to make the change now and you will attract, retain and develop the best talent.

Over 87% of people in a recent study valued flexibility over pay rise.  84% of men want to work flexibly and 91% of women. That means in every single company there are going to be a significant amount of employees that place it as a top priority. The costs are minimal and the gains really are significant. 

It’s about outputs not presenteeism. Being valued for the work you do rather than how long you spend at your desk, flexible workers are on average more productive. 

You can make a real difference to someone’s life outside of work. Taking children to school, having work life balance, or just not having a commute at peak time can make a significant difference!

The biggest issue with the gender pay gap occurs at a mid-senior level, offering more senior roles with flexibility breaks down the barriers that many face when try to combine a return to work with caring responsibilities. Not only does it work to close the pay gap but it also contributes to issues such as mental health and child poverty which are directly influenced by barriers in the workplace.  

By Hayley Richardson MCIPD, Director at Change the Chat and Flexible Hiring Champion for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Change the Chat Foundation are a talent consultancy focussed on removing barriers in the workplace and creating more flexible opportunities at a professional level. They work with clients to enable them to diversify their workforce. If you would like to talk to them about how flexible working can benefit your business, discuss the challenges you face or take advantage of one of their free workshops contact 0113 418 0031 or email

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