Nearly 40% of people who have flexible working state it has given marked improvements in their mental health, Wildgoose survey finds.
Flexible working is gradually becoming common practice rather than a nice-to-have, for businesses in every sector.
Wildgoose - experts in team building and workforce morale - conducted a survey of workers aged 45 or under to ask their thoughts on flexible working. Employees from 114 companies from all backgrounds gave their answers anonymously. The results highlight the importance of flexible workplaces when it comes to the mental health of employees.
14.3% of employees not currently allowed to work flexibly indicated that they are actively considering a career move to an organisation that would offer them flexible working. This figure rises to 21% of parents in the same situation.
With 62% of employees taking days off in the past year for mental health reasons, many employers want to do more to support mental health in the workplace. Flexible working is well publicised, though employers should start by understanding why their employees want flexible working for a better work/life balance.
Selecting the personal and professional reasons for their company to start offering flexible working as a way to improve employee lifestyle, the majority of respondents stated that it would help maintain a good work-life balance (70%). Second most prevalent reason was being reassured if an urgent situation arose, it could be resolved without affecting work (53%), followed by feeling as sense of value and trust from the employer (43%)
The findings of the survey highlight the importance of work/life balance and how crucial it is for employers to keep up with this demand, or risk losing staff. The Wildgoose survey results show some eye-opening stats, which include:
Looking at the results of this survey, it has become crucial that companies recognise the rapidly changing workplace and the value of flexible working. It's not just good for employees' mental health − it makes good business sense.
Commenting on the survey findings Jonny Edser, Founder and Managing Director of Wildgoose said:
"The results from our survey highlight the real benefits that adopting flexible working can offer to both employees and employers. At Wildgoose, we understand that everyone has a life outside of work that doesn't always fit around the typical 9-5. Trusting your employees to work at times that suit them is fundamental to maintaining productivity and employee wellbeing. If companies value the contribution their staff bring to the table, then giving them the freedom to flex their working hours is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping them."
For most companies the two main costs are staff (including staff desk space) and property. Flexible working will allow companies to increase their bottom line by making savings on desk space and rent.
In making sure that no more than 60% of its staff are in at one time, Lambeth Council says it saves millions of pounds in property running costs per year. While just under 60% of Barclays staff work flexibly with those who do expressing greater job satisfaction.
Harriet Shurville, People Director at McCann London, states:
"Flexible working is gradually becoming common practice rather than a nice-to-have, for businesses in every sector. This is great news, considering the benefits it brings to businesses and their people. With this research now revealing around 14% of employees would consider leaving their job over not being offered flexible working, and 30% saying they would leave if it was taken away from them, the potential loss for businesses is hard to ignore."
"Until formal procedure is adopted, there are a number of ways that employers can provide flexible-style working from core hours. It's imperative if businesses are going to attract and retain best-in-class talent. At McCann, we have introduced a number of measures such as working from home, a day off for your birthday and Summer Fridays from June to August, so everyone gets to leave the office early and enjoy a long weekend in the sun."
To find out more about the survey, visit:
Flexibility is about an employees and employers making changes to when, where and how a person will work to better meet individual and business needs. Participating in a mobile work arrangement is voluntary and requires the mutual agreement of the employee and supervisor. It is not an entitlement. Flexibility enables both individual and business needs to be met through making changes to the time (when), location (where) and manner (how) in which an employee works.
Flexibility in the Workplace: Formal and Informal Policies
A flexible work arrangement includes:
Flexibility should be mutually beneficial to both the employer and employee and result in superior outcomes. As long as employees are still receiving their minimum entitlements, employers and employees can negotiate ways to make their workplace more flexible.
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