The flexible workforce of tomorrow

Could offering flexibility to employees help with recruitment and retention within your workforce?

In 1971 Haller registered the trade mark 'Flexitime' and to this day the mark remains the property of the company's successor hfx Ltd. At the time business adopting flexible working conditions were seen to be progressive offering a positive step forward in terms of employee welfare. The scheme however had its critics as many employers saw it as disruptive to not have team members in the work place at the same time. Thankfully given advances in technology teams can now be together whilst working from home, clients offices or even coffee shops giving them access to a raft of working conditions ranging from flexible start times, job sharing, compressed or annualised hours and working from home.

In 2003 the Government introduced legislation giving certain employees the right to ask for flexible working arrangements, obviously whilst this is a positive step forward many more employees were left outside of the legislation. Here at JMF we are very reassured to see multinational businesses taking the initiative to include all employees in their schemes. Recently Capgemini announced its 'Work Harmony Initiative' and with EY advertising all roles as 'open to flexibility' many other companies are starting to follow suit including Dixons, Innocent, Pets at Home, Kelloggs Carphone Warehouse and Diageo who are all reported to be adapting how they approach candidate's need for flexibility during the recruitment process. This of course is all good news with skilled candidates at a premium and the future loss of excellent European nationals' roles need to appear to be as attractive as possible to all candidates including those who need to have flexible working conditions.

There have been many studies within flexible working environments, on the whole they find that candidates who have a faster commute or the flexibility to support dependants arrive at work less fatigued, have lower sickness rates and consequently make fewer errors. The impact for the company is that they achieve better staff retention, have less employer relations issues and become more attractive to candidates looking for new challenges.

In conclusion it is exciting to see the businesses taking steps to promote flexible working environments; it would appear that to grow a dynamic and successful team more organisations need to embrace the use of technology to achieve flexibility if they are serious about competing for skilled candidates.

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