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Flexible Working and Work Life Balance

We have had a lot of feedback from last month’s article on managing stress and how to balance this with the need for businesses to provide goods or services outside the traditional working hours model. Previously the issue of flexible working was only ever discussed by those returning from maternity leave. In today’s environment it should be something considered by all employers for their employees. Flexible working is not just about how long or short working hours are but also where the employees work. In service sectors such as hotels the use of flexi time and part time workers proves successful in providing a workforce in what is a truly 24/7 environment.

There is no doubt that a happier workforce is a more productive one. Employers will need to consider that just because they have always done something one way, it does not necessarily mean that is the only way going forward. They may also have to accept increasing costs in staffing levels so that those that do not choose a flexible working option are not overloaded. Flexible working has been shown to provide better retention of employees and also attracts a wider pool of applicants. A diverse workforce with a lower level of sickness absence is going to be easier to manage and could ultimately provide a better customer experience than more standard arrangements.

With developments in technology, the time lost to commuting could be reclaimed for the benefit of either the employee, the employer or both.

The Acas website has some very helpful leaflets with regard to the different sorts of flexible working that you may not have considered. As well as flexi time, there are also such items as job sharing, compressed hours and annualised hours which could be of assistance. If your staff are working long hours, regularly insisting that they need to work at weekends to meet their targets, getting poor customer feedback or being regularly absent due to ill health, it is time to look at how to change this for the benefit of the employee as well as the employer.