Strategy & LeadershipBusiness TransformationThe effects of a nationwide flexible working policy

The effects of a nationwide flexible working policy

The world of 9-5 working could be coming to an end, if a new bill is passed through Parliament. What effect would a nationwide flexible working policy have on UK employees?

This week MP Helen Whately has enforced a working bill towards the next stage in the government process. If this bill is passed it could mean that full-time workers will have remote working implemented into their contracts. This could mean fewer pressures on travel commitments and childcare across the whole workforce in the UK. 


“The 40-hour, five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives,” Helen said. 

“As a result, men don’t get to spend as much time as they might like with their children, women miss out on career opportunities, and the country loses out on the contribution they could and would like to make – if only they could do slightly different hours or work some days from home.”

Although this could be seen as a positive for many workforces in the UK to be able to work flexibly, it could be an arduous task to adapt to these changes if the bill is passed. Such as productivity and communication issues across various sectors and job roles. However for many leaders, this has sparked a positive response. 

Flexible working has a huge number of benefits for both employers and employees. For example, within the energy sector it can play a role in overcoming the skills gap by making the sector more attractive to top talent, irrespective of gender” said James Allen, COO, Airswift. 

There are many different types of flexible working that business leaders and professionals need to consider if this bill is passed, such as working from home, flexible hours, and flexible days. There are clearly benefits of following this approach, but how much of an impact would it have on a workforce if flexible working wasn’t an option? 

“Many workers are allotted hours 9 to 5, as an employer we know that childcare, personal circumstances or travel pressures can create far more stress in everyday life, leading to diminished personal health and working output. Our research suggests that 45% of UK small business owners attribute a lack of time to having a negative impact on their or their employees’ personal health; so much so, that 31% say that they or their staff have taken leave for mental health reasons,” said Linda Aiello, SVP of International Employee Success, Salesforce. 

“But having the policy alone isn’t enough – businesses need the right technology in place to make flexible working possible. Our research indicates that 40% of UK workers say their employers do offer flexible working, but that only 20% of staff are provided with the technology to support it. Proposals set out in the flexible working bill should greatly boost employee requests to work from home, and businesses must be properly prepared to facilitate agile working in its various guises, or else face an understandable backlash from staff who will increasingly expect to exercise their power to work in ways that fit around their personal lives.” 

Although some might argue that many roles could be heavily affected by these changes to the workforce through a lack of collaboration and communication, the improvements to digital software to improve this area could be the solution for many businesses who have already adopted this flexible working culture. As forward-thinking figures like Helen Whately rationalize the clear benefits of this new working lifestyle, it could only be a matter of time until we seeing a significant percentage of businesses adopting this new way of working. 

 

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