By now lots of businesses are set up and able to offer genuine flexible working. Thanks to the pandemic, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had no option but to enable remote working and adopt a more empathetic attitude towards the work-life balance of their employees.
That’s all great – but plenty of companies are missing a trick when it comes to talent attraction and nurturing their existing workforce.
Having a genuine flexible working policy is a powerful tool when it comes to persuading the best people to work for you. While flexible working is seen by many candidates as an expectation – not a perk, plenty of employers are yet to cotton on. So what better way to stand out against the competition to find and keep the right people for your business?
So, what is flexible working?
True flexible working is a lot more nuanced than ‘giving employees the option to work from home a few days a week.’ There’s a smorgasbord of options from part-time hours to job sharing, from condensed hours to the option to work remotely, or even allowing employees to pick their own hours. You can find out more about the different types of flexible working in our blog.
What’s at the heart of flexible working is trust. Giving them the autonomy to get work on their own terms shows them you value them as a whole person – not just an employee – and that their contributions to your business are what matters; not the number of hours spent logged on or in a brick-and-mortar building.
How to introduce flexible working
Your business is made up of individuals. So, like all things, it’s likely there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that absolutely everybody will be on board with. Whatever policy you feel is best for your people and your business, it’s important your people feel like it’s something they’re a part of – not something that’s being forced onto them.
Taking into account the needs and worries of your existing teams through surveys or workshops will help you create a policy that works and can help you roll it out with communications that alleviate concerns and make your people feel like they’ve been listened to.
Introducing flexible working should be done carefully, and in a way that’s considerate to your entire workforce and stays true to your culture. ACAS provides some useful guides on how to do this and champions training for the managers and team leaders who’ll be responsible for communicating your policy and managing the day-to-day requests and queries that arise.
Do we need to offer flexible working to appeal to candidates?
If your aim is to attract the best people, offering flexible working definitely makes good business sense. We already know that flexible working is seen by candidates as a hygiene factor rather than a perk. And according to WaveTrackR, the percentage of live roles including phrases like ‘working from home’ ‘flexible workplace’ and ‘remote working’ has been on the increase since 2020. That tells us that companies are listening to the market and putting flexible working in place. Don’t get left behind.