Flexible working is something that empowers you to work where and when you feel you can be most productive. Yet a report recently published by Forbes stated that although 58% of workers are offered flexible working, 24% of workers don’t take it.
Is it just introduced as an amendment to policies that employees aren’t aware of? Are employers being proactive at letting their staff know of it? Maybe businesses or line managers are reluctant to make it common knowledge because they are unsure of how to implement flexibility in to their teams working days? Or are we as workers scared of the impact that taking Flexible working may have on our career trajectory…
Flexibility in the workplace has become a hot topic recently for many reasons, including (but not limited to), the many of us who are now caring for older parents, various mental health issues, as well as parents fighting for their right to get back to work – normally after years of working for a business who are not able to be flexible around them when they really need them to be. (Should this loyalty that employers look for in staff, not go both ways?)
“From accommodating religious commitments to managing long-term medical conditions such as anxiety and depression, there are many reasons why people need to work flexibly, but many employers still view this as a privilege just for parents with young children,” says Kate Headley, Director of consulting at The Clear Company, which helps organisations recruit staff from a more diverse base. There is and always has been an air of uncertainty about part-timers and even freelancers, due to senior staff worrying about that person’s dedication to the company – something that completely disregards their skills and expertise.
Some sectors are adapting, becoming more open to remote-workers and flexible hours. So I guess the next question is, what’s changed?
Gooliswari Seeburn, a Recruitment Consultant from Crone Corkill says that her company is one of many consultancies that are adapting to the change. ‘Many Flexible roles are urgent, which benefit us financially, but most importantly benefit our clients by being able to keep things running when somebody is on maternity leave, sick leave or even somewhere on holiday.’
Flexible workers are go getters, they’ve got dynamic experience and drive but also adhere to deadlines extremely well and that’s because they are used to a certain pressure.
‘Time equals money and money increases profit, doing the math is easy when you look at it like that’, she commented.
On the other hand, when we discussed how she would feel if her flexible workers decided to work with multiple clients, she did raise concerns; ‘if somebody was working with three brands, I’d be concerned about them being overstretched and limited with time on each project. There would be the worry that they struggle to understand the ‘normal’ day to day work and instead end up working at 10pm at night – I know my client wouldn’t be happy receiving work this late because a flexible worker has put them at the bottom of the agenda over their other two clients’.
Before diving in headfirst into a mad mix of opportunities, it’s worth considering whether it will bring you the tangible results you need. Unless you’re James Bond, a Super Villain or just a multi-tasking HERO – it is almost impossible to deliver all of your workload at the same time without compromising the quality.
I’m sure that there are many Freelancers out there that would disagree with that sentiment and we are certainly of the school of thought that Productivity is key to the future of flexible working, and that our Millennials will almost certainly be more likely to do the same job for multiple contractors. Mainly because their childhood has most certainly taught them to multi-task and their need for upward mobility will certainly give them the drive to handle the additional learning and pro-activity that working 2 or 3 jobs may bring! But what do you think? Is your energy best spent tackling a job at a time, achieving the best results possible or does it depend on the individual?
And if we want to be more productive society now – not just in future generations, shouldn’t we be leading the way like Scandinavia by supporting 6 hour days? Results there show that people can be just as productive working less hours over our current average of 10?
At mummyjobs we think that we should lead by example for the next generation.
Share your thoughts with us below – what’s the future of productivity and flexible working?