The Pros and Cons of Flexible Working



All forward-thinking businesses should be looking to keep up with the latest innovations in the workplace and the methods in which they can get the highest level of performance from their employees. Flexible working is something that has been talked about in great detail over the last few years, and many workplaces have been quick to adopt the trend. Though you may have read plenty of articles shouting about the benefits, it is important that you take a balanced view of whether it is the right policy for your particular company. Like anything in business, it is worth weighing up all the pros and cons so you can make a more informed decision. So, let’s look at a few of these point-by-point to help you decide whether to implement a flexible working policy. 

Pro - Increased Employee Morale 

When people are stuck rigidly in the 9 to 5 schedule, there is an increased tendency for them to become disheartened and feel like they don’t have any freedom. However, when they have more flexibility to choose their own working hours, studies have shown that employees have higher morale which in turn leads to more motivation and a higher level of productivity. This morale comes from the sense of trust that their employer has placed in them and good employees will repay this with high levels of commitment. 

Con - Some People Will Take Advantage 

Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that some people will take advantage of workplace flexibility and use this as an invitation to slack off. Employees should view flexibility as a two-way street of trust. You may decide that you only offer flexibility to members of staff who have been with your company for a certain amount of time. It is important that flexible hours in the workplace is seen as the privilege that it is. 

Pro - Better Ability to Recruit High Level Staff 

Many talented employees now but flexible working right at the top of their job wish list - even ahead of salary in a lot of cases. By offering a flexible working pattern, you make yourself a lot more competitive when it comes to recruiting talented new members of the team. And we all know that the right employees can really drive a business forwards and bring it up to new levels. As well as this, if you offer a remote working option, you no longer have to rely on hiring employees who live in the local area. The whole world starts to open up and you have access to a much larger pool of talent. 

Con - May Cause Resentment Among Other Staff Members 

If some people are offered flexible working while others aren’t, this could lead to resentment among staff that are left behind in the office. But the problem that arises is that certain types of job are simply more conducive to a flexible working pattern. It is important that you address this issue as early as you can, showing that people who are working remotely aren’t slackers, but they are just working in a different way. As technology continues to improve, more jobs are becoming possible remotely so you may well be able to offer more employees the opportunity to work remotely as time goes on. 

Pro - People Can Work When They Feel Most Productive 

Some people work best from the moment they step out of bed, while others prefer to burn the midnight oil and continue into the early hours. The 9 to 5 doesn’t offer any sort of flexibility but assumes that people will be operating at their best between these hours. By giving people flexibility, you are also giving them the freedom to work when they are feeling at their most productive. There is a huge amount of time wasted in the traditional office culture - first thing on Monday morning and last thing on Friday afternoon are prime examples! Flexible working can help to encourage a more productive working life. 

Con - Teams May Still Need to Meet Face-to-Face 

Photo Credit If everyone is working at different times, they may end up having less opportunity to meet face-to-face to share ideas. Luckily videoconferencing facilities have made this a lot easier, but you may still have to make sure people are available for certain crucial meetings. If you need someone from the department in the office at all times, shift planning software can help you overcome this barrier. Ultimately, technology is playing its part in tearing down the barriers that are getting in the way of flexible working. 

Pro - Extended Hours of Operation 

Photo Credit Having people working at different times has the natural advantage of meaning that people are always available to deal with any issues that clients may have. This is particularly useful in client-facing roles, and you can use this as a way of encouraging clients to use your services ahead of your competitors. 

Con - Trouble for Managers to Adapt 

If managers have become used to keeping a close eye on staff members when they are at work, it can be a difficult change of pace to adapt to this new style of working. Ultimately, it all comes down to trust and analyzing what employees are producing when they are working at home fairly and objectively. 

Conclusion 

The main pros and cons of flexible working have all been laid out in front of you, so it is really up to you to decide if it seems right for your company. Not all businesses have been set up to accommodate flexible working, but the ones that have are starting to reap the benefits. However, that doesn’t mean that all rules suddenly go out the window. You need to make sure that employees are fully aware of what is expected of them and that they know they are in a position of privilege. If used properly, flexible working can be used to recruit and retain staff, as well as ensuring they are producing their best level of work.

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