More benefits for flexible working

A new report from the British Council for Offices (BCO) claims a boost in retention levels and reduced property costs are amongst the benefits of flexible working.
The BCO give the following organisational benefits of flexible working:
  • Reduced property costs: The utilisation for most offices is around 50%, indicating that space saving can be gained by introducing desk sharing.
  • Reduced churn: the cost of and disruption due to employee churn may reduce after implementing flexible working.
  • Smaller carbon footprint: If flexible working results in requiring less space then, theoretically, fewer buildings will need to be built, heated/cooled and maintained. If home-working is introduced, there will be reduced travel as a result.
  • Reduced absenteeism: Flexible workers with the option to occasionally work from home have been found to take less time off sick.
  • Reduced staff dissatisfaction: Case studies have shown that the attrition rate decreases after implementing flexible working.
  • Increased staff attraction: Surveys have shown that the latest generation of workers are more independent, work differently, are more environmentally aware and place more value on a flexible working environment. Therefore offering flexible working can help the organisation to become an employer of choice.
  • Longer work period: There is much anecdotal evidence which indicates that, contrary to popular belief, flexible workers tend to work longer hours. It is believed that flexible workers who save time on travel work for some of the time that would have been spent travelling.
  • Extended business hours: If staff in the same department start and finish at different times outside of core hours, then the operating hours will be longer; this could be planned with shift patterns, or a more informal arrangement. Staff working from home may be more willing to work outside of the normal operating hours.
  • Improved team-working: Flexible working environments help maintain the co-location of teams over time.
  • Better business continuity: Experienced staff who might wish to leave for personal reasons can be offered hours they can manage.
  • Improved staff performance: Flexible working should offer better work-life balance, improving staff motivation, morale and satisfaction, and reducing stress in the workplace.
Nigel Oseland, one of the report’s authors, said: “Technological advances now enable us, in a way that was never before achievable, to adopt the ‘work anywhere/anytime’ scenario. Yet, in the context of success or failure, technology is primarily an enabler and not a driver. The barriers to successful introduction of flexible working revolve around the ‘management of change’, combined with a clear lack of detailed knowledge surrounding the subject in general.”
The report is available to BCO members. For more information see:

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