First off, let’s clear out some misconceptions. Flexible working can mean several things, including:
- Working remotely;
- Working in a hybrid environment (remote + office);
- Working from home;
- Mandatory working from home, mainly because of the recent pandemic;
- Working in hours preferred by the employee.
In that light, a flexible working arrangement is almost always preferable (by employees) compared to a mandatory office presence during work.
And not only that: HR professionals are almost in unison proclaiming the death of a typical 9 to 5 working day and welcoming the “birth” of a remote working model for the majority of formerly office-bound professions, including software developers, accountants, lawyers, and more.
But, why is a remote work environment preferable to an office cubicle? Here are some of the most prominent perks of having a flexible working schedule outside of the confines of a strict office environment.
Increase in productivity
The perks of flexible working hours are beneficial for both businesses and individual employees—most notably manifesting in the form of boosted productivity.
A 2015 study found that 77% of working professionals felt like they could contribute more if and when they were allowed to work remotely. An additional 30% of those surveyed stated that they could get more work done (in less time) compared to working from the confines of office space.
It’s pretty clear that employees prefer the flexibility of making their own working hours, and the reasons for this could be several-fold:
- Achieving a better work-life balance;
- Having the ability to work part-time;
- Having more time to spend with their friends and family;
- Having the freedom to do chores while working (guilty!);
- Avoiding the purgatory of everyday commute;
- Eating healthier and having a better quality of life.
From the employers’ perspective, introducing flexible working hours could also mean having the leeway to gradually shift toward more agile work. This could take multiple forms, including staggered hours, alternative shifts to improve customer availability, and welcoming hires outside of their usual time zone.
Reduction in stress
According to a recent, self-reported workplace health survey, nearly 15 million days were lost due to factors such as depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues caused or made worse by work.
Mental health-wise, both employers and employees could greatly benefit from the concept of flexible working hours. The former because of the potential of seeing increased productivity across all departments (or, at least, a decrease in non-productive hours), and the latter simply because they will become happier, healthier, and less prone to illnesses and other unwelcome ailments.
Anecdotally speaking, workforces that experience high anxiety levels are less productive and are more likely to take some time off of work. In fact, they are even less likely to stay at the same company if their stress levels become very high.
Promotion of a better work-life balance
Introducing a flexible working strategy into the mix is an excellent way to encourage employees to work more efficiently, and therefore reduce employee turnover and increase employee engagement in the long run.
Usually, job satisfaction will skyrocket, followed by a healthier work-life balance that your top talent will be more than happy to achieve—both inside and outside their respective workplaces.
In fact, a recent CIPD report found that 20% of working professionals experience stress caused by family relationships, while 19% feel torn between work and family life.
On the other hand, around 54% reported that flexible working may be just what the doctor ordered. The staff members thought that having the freedom to choose their own working hours could lead them to achieve a better work-life balance and become happier in return.
And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The flexibility of working remotely allows employees to spend more time with their family, and maybe seek either moral or practical support to help them achieve their goals faster and more efficiently as well.
Achieving a better work satisfaction
The perks of having flexible working hours also include better job satisfaction with the workplace in the first place. Employees will become more engaged and more in tune with their work, which inevitably leads to better performance and greater creative output for professionals tasked with developing a product or a service.
Additionally, business leaders are also recognizing this trend and are now starting to offer how employees would like to work moving forward.
Flexible working attracts proven talent
Talent acquisition is one of the less-prominent benefits of flexible working, mainly because it’s usually considered from the perspective of businesses, and not the other way around.
To get with the times, modern organizations are increasingly pushing for remote and flexible work, and employees are more than willing to accept this new paradigm as the “new normal”.
For those that are more into numbers, here are some interesting statistics about working remotely:
- By 2028, it’s expected that 73% of all departments will have remote workers
- Close to 99% of people would prefer working remotely for the rest of their lives, even if that entails only part-time work
- A staggering 77% of employees said they are more productive working from home
- 69% of millennials would give up certain perks to get a more flexible working schedule in the workplace
- Professionals that work remote save close to $7K yearly in childcare, transportation, and food
- Organizations that are open to remote working see an average gain of $2K in profit per a single worker
- 74% of employees stated that the ability to have a more flexible schedule (including working remotely) would make them less likely to leave their current employment
Remote working is slowly but surely becoming a prevailing trend in most industries, including tech, healthcare, law, insurance, accounting, and many more.
For those new to this trend, achieving flexible working could be as simple as allowing employees to shift their working hours, choose when to take their lunch breaks, or come early to finish earlier and the other way around as well.
The future of flexible working is finally getting here, and everyone's better off for it.