Is Flexi-working the Solution to the UK’s Current Productivity Puzzle?
Although the UK has a high level of employment, production is dramatically less than our EU rivals. Latest statistics shows the UK produces 30 percent less per hour than workers in Germany, France and the US.
If businesses push employees to work harder, all momentum will be lost leaving a disengaged and unproductive workforce. So, how can we work smarter to increase productivity and compete against our EU rivals?
The UK’s productivity problem
Nick Clegg recently said: “Modern businesses know that flexible working boosts productivity and staff morale and helps them keep their top talent so that they can grow.”
It has been over a year since new legislations were introduced to make it easier for employees to request and negotiate flexible working arrangements. Now flexible working conditions have moved from changing to accommodate employees’ family dynamics and supporting those responsibilities to how businesses can attract and retain top talent to drive productivity and business growth.
Although flexible working has been in play for over a year, many companies are still struggling to understand its value to employees. Research conducted by Censuswide and Unify found that 37 percent of companies still do not offer flexible working, despite 39 percent of respondents claiming flexibility would increase employee loyalty.
When companies are told to boost productivity and efficiency, they usually look at implementing a new business structure or working routine. Different people work differently, and companies need to adapt their business model to suit each individual preference.
Flexible working conditions
Many companies worry that employees will take advantage of flexible working conditions. However, studies show a greater sense of control leads to greater employee engagement. Management must reassure employees that they’re a valued member of staff, at the same time, communicating expectations clearly.
Here’s five ways flexi-working impacts business productivity:
1. Better time management
Do you suffer from 3.00 pm afternoon slump? Or do you work better come afternoon as opposed to mornings? Flexible working allows employees to work when their productivity peaks. Meaning, employees are guaranteed to produce the most rewarding work.
2. Work-life balance
Flexible working allows employees the opportunity to find the perfect work-life balance. By fitting in personal commitments around work, employees live a more convenient and rewarding life. However, some employees may get distracted when working from home.
3. Reduced stress
A better work-life balance leads to a reduced stress level. When employees have control over time, they have to sacrifice less for work. Therefore, reduced stress equals a happy employee, producing greater output. Studies show, minimal stress reduces the number of sick days at work.
4. Lowered staff churn
Recruitment can be time-consuming and expensive. Hiring is usually the least desirable trait in the organisation as it drains on staff morale. Whereas keeping staff happy has a knock-on effect. By offering flexible working, you’re increasing staff retention.
5. Talent attraction
Awarding flexible working conditions to employees can often sound counter-intuitive. However, employees tend to work harder when away from their working station. This is because they feel less obliged to be seen ‘visible’ by their co-workers via email, phone and general conversation.
Work smarter, not harder
Technology has changed the way we work. Flexible working conditions and on-demand services allow businesses to work smarter and more efficient. Companies need to adapt flexibility and evolve working strategies to move their business forward given the requirements of today’s employee.
Organisations need to allow employees to work without boundaries and utilise tools that empower them to work effectively. Telephone answering services help employees work wherever, whenever 24/7/365.