Research conducted by Mintel has found that two thirds of British workers consider flexible working to be the most important benefit to them. After the experience of the Tube Strike in London last week, I would suggest that flexible working arrangements can benefit organisations too.
Rather than fighting through the crowds gathered at every bus stop and interchange, or getting hot and bothered by walking through the city's summer streets, many workers elected to work from home. For most of them, I am sure this was a sensible decision that allowed them to spend time productively and to carry on their normal work only in a different environment.
Flexible working often raises an eyebrow with assumptions made that it is an excuse to enjoy some time sun-bathing or catching up on a box-set. The reality is that workers will often spend more time working than they might in the office, without the distractions of the usual office environment. People can often plan their days better and tick off more of their to-do lists (whilst simultaneously collecting a delivery or filling the washing machine).
Flexible working is founded on the basic principles of an employment relationship: trust and confidence. Employers must trust in their employees to perform their duties diligently and, if needs be, without supervision. Without that trust and confidence in their abilities to manage their time effectively, the relationship can easily be damaged to the point of no return.
Simple flexible working policies and sensible and proportionate monitoring can help to manage any arrangement, whether that be a regular, or irregular occurrance.
New research says that two-thirds of workers consider flexible working to be the most important staff benefit.