The concept of flexible working arrangements has been a game-changer in recent years, allowing workers to meet personal responsibilities while still fulfilling the requirements of their role. A flexible working arrangement usually refers to where the work is completed from (i.e., from home or the office) and when it is done. While the list of benefits is exhaustive, there are also potential pitfalls to be wary of. We take a look at both sides.
A shortcut to a better work–life balance
Flexibility in hours can help workers at any age or with any type of lifestyle. Working to a schedule or from a location that benefits the worker can allow people to live regionally and still work in capital cities, and it can give parents the opportunity to spend more time with family. Those with mental health issues can greatly benefit from a more flexible schedule. Lessening the pressure of these everyday life stressors can lead better focus while at work.
Time saved on commuting
The time saved on a commute gives people extra hours each week that would usually be spent travelling to and from the premises. Even the introduction of flexible hours can reduce commute time, as employees aren’t required to travel at peak times.
Morale and productivity
Improved morale is the biggest positive involved with flexible working. Giving workers more choice in how they organise their working week has links to higher enjoyment at work, as well as increasing productivity. By offering flexibility in contact hours, employees feel more in control of their schedule and can better meet their health, social and family needs.
Financial benefits for the business
Companies who encourage flexible working arrangements often increase their revenue through less personal leave taken by workers. Better morale generally translates into a lower staff turnover and thus reducing hiring costs.
This one really depends on the type of person and level of accountability required in the role. Working from home or in the office at times that others aren’t around does sound enticing; however, it’s all too easy to use work hours to attend to household chores or personal errands. It can be a great exercise in discipline for those easily distracted.
Remote collaboration can come with its challenges
Despite technology allowing workplaces to communicate from anywhere, some meetings, pitches or critical interviews are best done in person. The extent of these challenges does come down to the type of person, how outgoing they are and how comfortable they are contributing to meetings over video or phone.
Switching off takes more discipline
Sitting on the couch under a blanket or working with a cuppa on the porch can be just the thing to meet a big deadline. However, bringing work into the home environment can make it difficult to draw a line between working hours and relaxation time. The same goes for having flexible hours — some may find it difficult to switch off and not remain contactable at all times.