The CIPD reported last week that Londoners who work flexibly are happier, less stressed and enjoy a better work life balance. According to the report, 69% employees living in London who work flexibly report they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 52% of employees that don’t work flexibly. The respondents cited key benefits of flexible working including a better work-life balance (53%), less time spent commuting (32%), reduced stress (30%) and improved productivity (30%).
As Londoners spend an average of 47 minutes travelling to work each way compared to the national average of 31 minutes, they are travelling further and working longer hours in any ‘typical’ week than workers across the UK. No wonder they feel the benefits of flexible working more keenly than people living elsewhere.
Clearly, Londoners stand to benefit most from flexible working but companies everywhere can realise benefits by embracing flexible working. People feel happier and less stressed if they can work more flexibly. It not only reduces commuting times but can allow parents to take their children to school once in a while, or visit an elderly parent or simply find time for a dental check up in their lunch break – all the while being more productive.
Yet some businesses are still reluctant to fully embrace flexible working in their culture. A government report last year highlighted that whilst 97% of companies offer some form of flexible working, including job sharing, the take up was minimal. This suggests that companies are not truly embracing flexible working and embedding it in their culture.
Today most people have Wi-Fi and smart phones and can work as seamlessly at home as in the office – but businesses still need robust systems to manage flexible working too in the same way they would manage paternity leave or sickness absence. They need visibility of where people are at all times, to be able to set up meetings remotely and ensure that when people say they are working, they are available. For businesses to benefit too flexible working has to be fully supported by technology as part of a strategic plan.
By Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ Absence