Flexible working 'important to employees'

Friday 8 February 2013

Employers who are reluctant to increase their salaries need to consider alternative employee benefits such as flexible and mobile working in order to compensate, experts have said.

According to Marketing Week, almost 75 per cent of people say flexible working is either important or very important to them.

In addition, 14 per cent claimed that flexible working is so key to their schedules that they would even change jobs so they could work with fewer restrictions.

Despite this, just 62 per cent of companies have adopted flexible working measures. Of those who are planning to implement a flexible working scheme at some point, 56 per cent are unlikely to do so over the next 12 months.

However, PepsiCo European marketing director Lee Sargent has said that flexible working is crucial.

“It is a rising trend in marketing and you need to have an adult relationship with your staff - which means trusting them and giving them more control over how they deliver what you want them to," he said.

However, definitions of flexible working appear to vary from company to company, the research shows.

Just 36 per cent of companies that do offer the employee benefit allow part-time working for example, while just 14 per cent provide career breaks.

In addition, the number of companies who allow staff to work from home has dropped significantly from 80 per cent in 2002 to just 71 per cent this year.

This is despite the rise of technologies that enable remote working such as smartphones and tablets.

However, it is worth noting that one-third of companies have developed a hot desk policy, which encourages employees to work both from home and in an office. This can benefit businesses significantly in that it cuts central office costs.

Vodafone UK enterprise marketing director Peter Boucher explained that flexible working has numerous advantages for workers and employers, including better morale, job satisfaction and retention levels.

He said: "Our research shows that access to flexible working options and an improved work-life balance are among the most important drivers of employee satisfaction today.

“One way to do this is to introduce new processes and technology that create these better ways of working and enable employees to work from wherever they need to be.”

The expert added that around one fifth of the phone company's head office staff work remotely and that this has seen productivity levels improve by up to 20 per cent.

Posted by Alex Boardman