When you hear the words ‘flexible working’ do you naturally consider mums returning to work? I’ll be the first to admit that was my default too and when I tell people what I do, I can guarantee that most will respond with something along the lines of “wow that’s brilliant – so many mum’s have a need for flexible working”. But flexibility matters for both men and women more than ever.
29% of men and 36% of women say flexible working arrangements are very important when considering a job according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report.
For years now flexible working has comprised of formal part time, compressed working weeks, job sharing and remote working arrangements predominantly afforded to mums who have traditionally taken on the role of caregiver. This ‘flexibility’ has often caused negative, stigmatizing outcomes for the employee. The overwhelming feeling of crippling self-doubt known as imposter syndrome can severely impact career progression and cause negativity at work.
What is the answer? An inclusive working culture. Let’s break down why flexible working is for everyone.
Flexible working arrangements can benefit everybody
Whether you are an athlete who needs time to train and compete, you’re following a passion project or you want to reduce a 2-hour daily commute, flexible working allows this. Flexible working has moved well past mums (or dads) returning to work, it is about fitting your work into your life rather than the other way around. It’s for those of us who have other commitments that are just as important to manage and want to have a well-balanced life. The 9-5 working pattern just doesn’t suit the way our communities operate in a modern world.
Changes in attitudes and values within the labour force are increasing demand for flexible work arrangements
There are two key changes that we have started seeing within the labour market. One has been a change in values in an emerging labour force and the other has been the shift in needs for older workers.
According to the 2018 Deloitte Millenial Survey, Flexibility and Positive Workplace Culture were ranked a very close second to financial rewards when choosing to work for an organisation for both Millenials and Gen Z. This will be an important thing to consider when businesses are competing for top talent in the future.
Retirees tapering off their hours but not ready for retirement, are also demanding more flexibility whether being forced to or choosing to. By working flexibly they are able to continue participating in the workforce while balancing it with their personal life. The OECD report that in the 55-64 years age bracket 56% of people are now employed compared to 48% in 2014.
Oh and by the way, flexible working makes good business sense
Recent studies and reports support a strong business case for flexible working arrangements which lead to higher productivity, increased job satisfaction, greater organization commitment, employee engagement, morale and empowerment, higher financial performance, better labour retention, and greater brand strength therefore helping organisations to become an employer of choice.
So how do we move towards creating an inclusive flexible working culture?
In 2015 an ammendment was made to the NZ Employment Relations Act allowing all employees the right to request a Flexible work arrangement. While the change to the act is a positive step forward, it is important for companies to go one step further and rather than wait for employees to request a flexible working arrangement, be pro-active in normalizing flexible working.
If your organisation would like more information and take the next step to normalise flexible working we’d love to help. Feel free to call us on 0800 04 FLEX or email me at email@example.com
A few links below to some case studies and research (happy travelling this Easter Weekend):