Same commute, same desk, same working hours - little wonder that the 9-5 is often referred to as the daily grind. No matter how talented and conscientious your employees, an unchanging routine can suppress energy and dampen creativity.
It’s a fact recognised by today’s leading employers who are re-thinking working practices to get the most from colleagues, rather than asking them to conform to decades-old procedures.
Business owners shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming flexible working is simply a perk to be offered occasionally. Anyone who has worked for a company for more than 26 weeks has a legal right to request flexible options.
Of course, employers aren’t obliged to agree to every request. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that those businesses embracing the new working culture are benefitting in major ways.
‘Flexible working’ means many things to many people.
Working from a cafe or the kitchen table is what many people gravitate towards, but while these options may sound appealing, they can often be distracting environments — particularly when schools are closed. From an employers point of view, there are obligations to meet regarding administrative and health and safety regulations when staff work from their own homes.
A fresh alternative that many are turning to is a professional work environment near to home that enables your people to turn up, plug in and get productive.
The best coworking spaces deliver on aesthetics, but equally important are the tools that allow people to get the job done; fast and failsafe internet, comfortable and well-lit seating areas, access to printers and all the other office tech you'd expect. Excellent coffee on tap is a welcome bonus.
Your people are the essence of your business. How — and crucially, where — people work is understood to have a significant bearing on workplace wellbeing.
The stresses of the commute are well documented. It’s reported that the average UK worker will spend 400 days of their working life commuting — over a year lost to the train or motorway!
Those businesses able to offer some flexibility around workplace location are contributing to a happier workforce. A change of scene can refresh minds, energise performance and help to keep your best people happy, all to the overall benefit of your brand.
It can be difficult to manage the work-life balance at certain times of the year.
Undoubtedly, school holidays can lead to employees with children feeling pulled in several directions as they juggle childcare and travel plans with the demands of the working day.
Giving staff the freedom to work from professional workspaces on their doorstep goes a long way to cementing the trust and respect that is so crucial in retaining top performers.
You can book space on an as-needed basis, with no need to commit to long blocks of usage. The flexibility to manage their own working hours leaves colleagues feeling appreciated and cared for and enables them to focus fully on business matters as soon as they step through the door.
Get ahead of the curve
Today’s innovators are taking the idea of ideas very seriously.
Allowing the time for creative thought and development is increasingly recognised as business-critical, and finding an environment that serves this creative mindset is high on the agenda. Allowing colleagues to change routines by working from different locations can be the catalyst for strategic development.
Workspaces bring together people from different backgrounds and industries, fostering shared experience and collaboration. Who knows, the solution to your next business challenge could be sitting in the seat opposite.
A recent study conducted by HSBC showed that nine-out-of-ten workers (89 per cent) believe flexible working motivates them to be more productive at work. The same study revealed that workers rate the opportunity to work flexibly as being more important to them than a pay rise. It’s therefore surprising that less than a third (30 per cent) of UK businesses offer flexible working to their employees.
Those that are leading the way have recognised that flexible working should no longer be regarded as a ‘nice to have’ or an afterthought. Rather, flexible working has become a key element of success that must be taken seriously if businesses are to attract and retain the best people and get the most from their workforce.
Giving employees the freedom to work out spaces that are convenient and geared towards productivity is a new way of working that disrupts the fixed commute, fixed desk status quo.
The beauty of this new flexible model is that it’s easy to test and measure, requiring no long-term commitments. It’s a model that works for any size of business — from start-ups wanting somewhere more productive than the kitchen table, to multi-nationals wanting to help teams achieve their best work.
Those business that are acting now are getting ahead of the curve, stealing a march on competitors and immediately becoming a more attractive proposition to the talent-pool of professionals in the area.