I have been advocating ‘flexible working’ for many years now, and will not hide the fact that without it I wouldn’t have been able to fulfil my family commitments while building my career. From June 30th 2014, the government announced that all UK employees now have the legal right to request flexible working. So, I was shocked to see the latest Polycom ‘flexible working’ survey findings – that only 1 in 5 (22%) are aware of their statutory rights. Meaning, 78% are oblivious of the fact that they can request flexible working arrangements from their employers.
This revelation was equally intriguing for the Nottingham’s radio station Kemet FM whom I spoke to during a series of radio interviews on the 30th September. They were curious to know whether the new legislation is going down equally well at employers’ end? Is the workforce unaware because their employers have not informed them? It is for certain, that the UK government has brought this new flexible working legislation into existence to empower workers wishing to raise the question with their employers.
Is that it? Employers are not legally bound to authorise flexible working arrangements for their employees? This point was raised by the radio station The Thread. It is a fact that many employers out there already offer flexible working option to their employees; however many others don’t. So the ones lagging behind in the game are not only losing out on boosted business productivity and business continuity, it is also likely that they are losing out on acquiring and retaining the best talent for their businesses. Smart move will be to provide your employees the option for balancing their work and life. This will help businesses nurture the talent and successfully retain it in a few years’ time.
I would also advise businesses take into regard the talent pool of digital natives of today, most of whom are seemingly comfortable with their current non-flexible work arrangements. Their priorities will most likely change in a few years’ time when they start planning families while climbing their career ladders. The competition to retain the best talent will only become more intense and may affect the overall business productivity.
We are at the tipping point of building a society where the mindset is changing. Employees are trusted to manage themselves and performance is reviewed on the quality of output rather than the amount of days they have been warming the chairs at the employer’s expensive real estate facilities. Richard Branson from Virgin has shown just what it means by recently announcing to offer staff unlimited holidays. And, at Polycom, it is the norm to nurture trust between the managers and their direct reports to facilitate flexible working
The point of flexible working is that you can get energized on a whole new level and contribute your talents to new places and new opportunities. So put that one-time effort into getting your home telework setup tuned. In conclusion, I feel confident that in couple of years from now we won’t be discussing flexible working; it will be the way of life, but what are your thoughts on flexible working? How often do you work from outside the office? Comment and share your thoughts below!