HR News from Moorepay
A recent BBC article addressed the health benefits of employees being allowed to take up ‘flexible working’.
The article reported that a recent piece of research for the Cochrane Library had found that employees who had control of their hours could have better blood pressure and heart rates. The same research showed that 10 studies of more than 16,000 people also said it might have a positive impact on mental health.
What is flexible working?
The term ‘flexible working’ refers to any pattern of working adapted to suit the needs of the employer and the employee. Examples of flexible working are as follows:
- job sharing: sharing a job designed for one person with someone else
- home working: working from home
- part time: working less than the normal hours, perhaps by working fewer days per week
- flexi time: choosing which hours to work
- 10/4: working 10 hours a day for four days a week
- staggered hours: different starting, break and finishing times for employees in the same workplace
There are various other forms of flexible working and the above examples can be altered to better suit the needs of the employer and the employee.
Certain employees have the right to have their request for flexible working considered, but regardless of legal obligations, employers are appreciating more and more how flexible working can have a positive impact on staff motivation and productivity.
Flexible Working Benefits for the Employee
Workers who have control over their working hours enjoy better health because they are less stressed and get more rest, according to the review of ten research studies involving more than 16,000 people.
Mental health, blood pressure, and sleep patterns were better among people who could determine their own working hours according to the review, conducted by researchers at the Wolfson Research Institute based at Durham University.
Flexible working can often assist employees to enjoy a better work/life balance.
Flexible Working Benefits for the Employer
Promoting flexible working can often make good business sense.
Greater cost-effectiveness and efficiency may be achieved as for example, savings can be made on overheads when employees work from home. Additionally less downtime is needed for machinery when 24-hour shifts are worked. The chance to have extended operating hours can also broaden customer base and increase profit.
Benefits can also be had in terms of human resources. Many employers find that a better work-life balance has a positive impact on staff retention, and on employee relations, motivation and commitment. High rates of retention means that you keep experienced staff who can often offer a better overall service. The offer of flexi time also enables businesses to attract and retain a skilled and more diverse workforce. Also, recruitment costs are reduced. Greater job satisfaction, better staff morale and reduced levels of sickness absence are also often achieved.
Implementing Flexible Working
When planning to implement a policy, you will need to consider the following:
1. Establish the objectives of introducing such a scheme.
2. Ascertain goals and the action required to reach those targets.
3. Consult with HR specialists to ensure due consideration is given to the legal and health and safety issues associated with flexible working and later to prepare relevant documents
4. Communicate the concept to staff at an early stage and establish what they would appreciate and value. Ensure this works for both the employees and the business.
5. Talk to managers to analyse what jobs can be flexible within the organisation.
6. Set clear rules from the outset to avoid future confusion.
7. If necessary, prepare an equipment budget for remote and home workers. Decide on the technology that will be required and how to secure data. Consider consulting with IT providers to streamline solutions.
8. Set up an activity programme for remote workers to keep staff involved with team meetings, virtual conferences and home assessments. Keeping remote or home workers ‘visible’ with support and resources will ensure productivity remains on target.
9. Continue to regularly review the plan to monitor the effectiveness and productivity of flexible working.
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