There’s Far More to Flexible Working Than Just Cutting Your Costs
By Steve Moore, Marketing Manager, Business Environment Ltd
In today’s challenging economic climate, increasing opportunities to work flexibly can be a cost effective way to retain staff, improve well-being and productivity.
Allowing staff to finish work at lunchtime on summer Fridays and taking the Royal Wedding’s extra bank holiday on a date of their choice (instead of the day itself) are two flexible working options implemented by cereals’ manufacturer, Kellogg’s at its Manchester head office. Whilst these initiatives may seem more radical than most, they illustrate perfectly just how much the UK’s working patterns have changed over the past decade.
...than 10 years since parents of children under six (or disabled children under 18) were given the statutory right to ask for flexible working and have their employer consider it seriously. But within this relatively short time period, the number of companies offering flexible working has grown steadily; with around 96% of the private sector now operating at least one such policy. Whilst there is still no automatic, legal right for UK employees to work flexibly, the widespread nature of such policies indicates that the majority of people have some flexibility about how and when they work.
Flexible working is generally defined as any working pattern which has been adapted to suit a particular need. This covers a wide variety of different working practices, of which home-working, flexi-time, part-time and job sharing are probably the most well-known and widely used. Other options include “time-shifting” where employees have the flexibility to change the length of their working days: this can be by staggering the start and end of their working days, compress the days (working longer — but fewer — days) or annualising time to spread hours over a yearly, rather than weekly basis. Structured time... continued on page two >