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Advantages of Flexible Working - Management
FLEXIBLE WORKING - THE ADVANTAGES TO MANAGEMENT
Reduced Stress - Improved Employee Morale - Recent research by MultiTime with over 1,000 users of our VisionTime system for flexible working was done in conjunction with London City University.
The research outcome shows that flexible working provides the employee with enhanced job control. Where employees experience greater job control, it leads to reduced workplace stress. Indeed, many of the advantages listed here and which are associated with flexible working hours can be ascribed to this single factor - the employee's feeling of having greater job control.
Combatting The Downturn - Pay matters can now be weighed against now offering flexible working hours and arrangements. With the serious financial downturn now in progress, this is a major advantage to organisations in trying to find ways to combat the forces of the economy. See here what the new study from the CBI is saying about flexible working and the recession.
Combatting Weather Conditions -
Recent more extreme and varied weather conditions make it increasingly difficult for employees to work towards rigid working times. So with flexible working employees can for example stop work early during those awkward periods. This is in the knowledege that they can build that time back again, quite soon after. Equally management will know exactly what's going on, in such stressful times, from the realtime and historic information instantly available in our specially designed system for flexible working. And the next "weather episode" is always around the corner - so now is the time to think ahead on this issue.
Absenteeism has been reduced in companies through flexible working, sometimes by as much as 25 per cent. Just one example of a behavioural change seen in our flexible working schemes is whereby instead of taking the odd casual day off for whatever of a variety of reasons staff might do this, now they have the chance to get in later, yet before the core period.
Staff Turnover usually decreases where flexitime is introduced - a vital consideration in terms of keeping key staff, in difficult economic times.
Productivity – while often it is difficult to measure improved productivity, especially in white collar environments, some VisionTime System users claim that productivity has increased by between 1 and 5 percent.
Relationships between staff and management have improved and most people working with our System would not like to return to fixed working days.
Web Oriented Time Technology - People are constantly surprised at what can technology can now achieve in terms of supporting flexible working arrangements. The fusion of web oriented software programmes, mobile devices like mobile phones, and PDAs, Touch Screen technology - all allow for the creation of a working time environment only dreamt of five years ago.
The VisonTime "Clocking" screen in a Blackberry.
Pay matters are now viewed in certain respects as being less important by staff than obtaining a flexitime arrangement, according to a study. With an economic downturn now in progress this is a major advantage to organisations in trying to find ways to combat the forces of the economy.
Less Overtime needs be worked, as employees can, within the given guidelines, regulate the hours they work to cope better with busier and slack periods.
Experience has shown that people prefer to be properly occupied when at work. Equally they prefer to take time off when there isn’t much as much work to do, so as to use that time more productively in a personal sense e,g, do shopping, use local facilities, family commitments etc.
This is rather than sit around waiting for things to do just for the sake of being at work, when there is an alternative to this.
Finishing a Job can be catered for more easily with flexible working or flexitime.
In general, people like to complete a task if it is possible and will stay longer, in the knowledge that the time worked is being built up in the systemThis can avoid wasted time the next day, having to recap on what has already been started the previous day, a situation which often happens in a fixed working day which ends at a specific time.
By comparison, with FWH an employee knows that he can take time off to compensate for extra hours worked.
Working from home - more here
Working Relations between employees and supervisors/managers can improve. Flexible working can replace that old fashioned concept of what was is often referred to as "Face Management" i.e. the boss needs to see the employee at work to prove work is being performed. This is a cultural thing that can be overcome by organisations realising that a more far sighted approach can be taken. Indeed if we can call Face Management an "old culture device", it's preservation can lead to all sorts of situations e.g. an employee can feel he/she has to stay late, irrespective of what is actually being achieved, just to impress a boss. In a modern working environment, employees can resent such an approach, often knowing themsleves that by comparison flexible working, engenders a “task oriented” environment.
Make no mistake, employees compare how their friends and family members are being treated in their workplaces. Some will vote with their feet and transfer to the more mature and fairer workplace that offers flexible working. If these are key Staff then the result can be difficult for organisations. We know of a specific cases where the main reason that key people continue to work in particular organisations is because of having the benefit of flexitime.
Arriving at Work at different times cuts down a lot of the general chit-chat about last nights TV programme or the latest news to hit the headlines. People come in at their own time and settle down to work quicker.
Communications actually improve because it becomes more concentrated as everyone outside and inside the organisation knows that all staff are available during core time.
Concentration may be difficult in a busy office, but during the flexible part of the day there are always quiet times when people can get down to doing a difficult job.
Uneven Workloads are much clearer to identify by the amount of hours worked by individuals. This enables alterations to be made or even promotions to be considered.
When Recruiting new staff FWH can be listed as an employee benefit.
Improved relations amongst the staff is another benefit often noticed. People who are happy in their work are more reliable and productive and better relations between staff and management can only be beneficial.
The number of hours worked is the issue with FWH, not punctuality. The person who arrives late and leaves at the end of core time is merely credited with less hours. Much time is lost by lateness in companies working fixed hours.
In the current economic situation, offering flexible working to employees, to use a topical description, can be viewed as providing a workplace stimulus. Therefore, as organisations work to deal with the affects of the world economic downturn, they will need to look towards initiatives that will help to improve employee morale, following often difficult developments in the average workplace.
Flexible Working Hours is the initative which well placed to play a vital role in the way organisations fight to find a way out of this recession.
Elsewhere on this site, you will see references to our award winining research studies. The results from the studies leave no doubt that offering flexible working arrangements has significantly positive outcomes for Staff, Management and the Workplace.
The International Dimension:
The UK : Under the recent work & family legislation in the UK, millions more employees will have a right to request flexible working.
The US: President Obama is very much in favour of flexible working, and Secretary of State - Hilary Clinton, is a strong advocate.
The EU: Working Time Directives are all pointing in the "flexible working"direction.