why consider flexible working?

I stumbled across an interesting piece on IT Pro giving 10 reasons for companies to consider introducing a flexible working policy. This is a real interest area of mine, having managed to maintain a senior position in the PR industry whilst raising a family and living outside of London.  I have been fortunate to have a very forward thinking employer and clients but many companies still cannot see the benefits of flexible working.

Here’s the list outlined in the ITPro article:

Cost savings

Morale

Productivity

Work-life balance

Green

Staying competitive

Equality and diversity

The tech is already in place

Government regulations mean you have to

Business continuity

But I would also add a few of my own:

Community benefits – people spend where they live instead of where they work

Working with other offices/Intl clients – people don’t mind the early Asian and the late US conference calls when they are working at home, much easier than trying to get into the office for silly o’clock

Health benefits – it is a lot easier to fit in the run/gym session when you don’t have to negotiate an hour long tube journey or carry your suit in to work – ditto sleep, easier to get the recommended 8 hours a day when your alarm goes off a little later

Staff retention benefits – if workers are allowed to adopt a flexible pattern that fits in around other commitments, they are more likely to be committed to a company and to stay longer.  This is a great benefit to clients as IP is not lost due to high turnover but also reduces recruitment/replacement hassles and costs

Any other flexible workers got anything to add?

N.B. Cross posted on Ruder Finn’s blog

9 comments

  1. James Cherkoff · May 20, 2009

    Childcare becomes much easier when you don’t have to fit everything around the commute in and out.

    • Rebecca McMichael · May 20, 2009

      Can’t believe I forgot that one – yes! The sole reason I wanted to have this colocation / homeworking thing set up. Cheers James.

  2. Emma Sinden · May 20, 2009

    Its amazing how many companies are blind to this. I have two kids, a senior position in the PR industry and am about to move to Bath while still working three days a week in London. Made possible because I have a good boss who not only sees the value of flexibility but also invests in the technology to make it happen…

    • Rebecca McMichael · May 20, 2009

      Good for you Em, I made the move as you know and haven’t looked back. If you are committed and smart about working remotely, it benefits all parties and the bright employers recognise that. Hats off your MDs for being in that group – believe me, there are many MDs in PR agencies who wouldn’t entertain it.

  3. Patrick · May 20, 2009

    Becky

    It always amazes me when people don’t even consider this. I had an old boss that had to see me at my desk in front of him – not surprisingly I got out of there pretty quickly.

    I’ve always been a believer in this and in fact the whole business model I have set up is based around the idea of people working flexibly. It just makes more sense to me.

    • Rebecca McMichael · May 20, 2009

      Hi patrick – thanks for stopping by my blog and taking time to comment – much appreciated! I agree totally, on the whole, companies with forward thinkign manageemnt teams are muich mroe sustainable and have a workforce that is happy, motivated and much more committed than those that know their working model has a definitive shelf life. It is a no brainer if you ask me – my employer – Ruder Finn – is one of the good ones fortunately 🙂

      • Rebecca McMichael · May 20, 2009

        God – shocking typos – sorry!

  4. Karen Kennard · May 20, 2009

    Hi Becky,

    I work with small businesses finding them flexible workers (mostly parents looking to fit work in with their families) and the benefits to small businesses are huge as it allows them access to all the skills they need, without a commitment of full time staff. I think small businesses are leading the way in flexible working, or so my experiences tell me and it’s great. Many of the people looking for flexible work have at least 10 years professional experience behind them, and so the input they can have can be enormous.

    One of the benefits I think you’ve missed here is envrionmental, because of course were saving on the commuting.

    Keep spreading the word.

    • Rebecca McMichael · May 20, 2009

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂 I think with environmental saving you need to be careful. Often when homeworkers travel, they travel further than regular office workers and there are the implications of heating and lighting an office plus a home office that needs to be taken into account.

      Becky

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