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Pros and cons of flexible working for your business

Pros and cons of flexible working for your business

Flexible working becoming the norm in the 21st century

Technological developments over the last couple of decades have led to a paradigm shift in working practices across the whole business world. Many jobs can now be done from anywhere, as long as the employee has a laptop, mobile phone and Wi-Fi. In many industries, it no longer makes commercial sense to pay for expensive office space when your members of staff can carry out their duties effectively from home or even a coffee bar. Furthermore, younger generations who have grown up in a world in which the “job for life” is a historical notion, have come to expect a sense of flexibility in their working lives, and the idea of the 9-5 office routine can seem archaic and off-putting.

How does offering flexible working help small businesses?

Tech-savvy professionals are now looking for more than just a good salary when choosing a job. If you want to recruit and retain the best talent, providing a flexible working environment can put you ahead of the competition. It demonstrates that you are forward-thinking, aware of the capability of modern technology and shows that you place trust in your employees. Larger organisations often struggle to keep up with change but SMEs can quickly adapt and, as such, are becoming increasingly attractive employers for young professionals. This not only helps with recruitment but also retention, reducing wasteful staff turnover. Flexible working can also allow you to retain valued employees who may be struggling to combine work with caring commitments. Allowing your employees to work from home or elsewhere will also enable you to reduce the substantial costs of renting office space. Furthermore, providing a separate office computer will also often become unnecessary as the employee can use their own laptop; adopting a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy can potentially save even more money.

Potential issues with flexible working

Of course not all industries will be able to take advantage of flexible working. Retail and manufacturing companies need to be able to stay in control of their workforce. But, although you may not be able to offer true flexibility to your employees, different types of contracts - such as shift or night work - can still be very useful. Also, it’s important to have regular face to face group meetings, particularly for new recruits, to ensure that people remain part of a team and work together effectively. Finally, flexible working simply doesn’t suit some individuals so you should also bear this in mind.

We have a range of documents and letters which are helpful for employers who are dealing with flexible working requests. These can be downloaded from our Employment Documents Folder. Click on the relevant links below for further information.

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