Online Business AwardsOnline Business Awards

Powwownow’s managing director Jason Downes tells Talk Business how flexible working can benefit your business.

A common misconception about flexible working is that it only benefits employees. Reducing commuting times, having more time for their loved ones and improving work-life balance all relates to staff benefits. So what do businesses get out of it?

Lower absenteeism

Allowing staff to become more agile with where and when they work can actually do a lot for your business. First and foremost, if teams are allowed to work flexibly, absenteeism naturally drops. Employees fall sick from time to time and last minute issues arise where they need to be somewhere at a certain time, that’s just life. But sometimes they’re well enough to work but not well enough to come into the office, and other times they might just need to be home at a specific time of the day. So rather than having to take leave for a whole working day, flexible working enables them to work even when they can’t come into the office.

Inevitably, there will be times where obstacles arise that are out of anyone’s control: transport delays, strikes, weather issues etc. But businesses can’t afford to stop because their staff can’t make it into the office on time. So rather than always having to reschedule or push back meetings, flexible working allows staff to duck into a cafe or co-working space, join on iMeet and run their meetings as scheduled. This way, companies can run as normal and business priorities and deadlines don’t have to be moved because staff aren’t in the office.

Greater productivity

How can flexible working make your employees more productive? You’d be surprised how much a change in environment can do for staff productivity levels. If your employees are forced to commute to, and work in the same office day in and day out, it’s easy to get into bad work habits and lose focus. A simple change in environments and discovering what works best for them can change their frame of mind and make them more resistant to distractions. Discovering the locations where they can be productive is important for businesses with tight deadlines, particularly when there are tight deadlines and big targets they need to meet. So if you can get more out of your staff by allowing them to work from a range of locations, why stop them?

Improving company culture

Flexible working can do a lot for improving company culture, and this comes with many add-on benefits. Anyone will tell you that commuting is one of the worst parts of any person’s day. If they can avoid this for even one day, their stress levels will be reduced and you’ll subsequently get more from your staff as they can focus on work, rather than who their latest frustration was on their journey in to work.

55% of UK workers saying that being able to work flexibly will be ‘crucial’ in their next job choice. So by entrusting your staff to work remotely will ultimately increase staff satisfaction and improve your company culture. No one likes being micromanaged, so by allowing your team to have the freedom to determine where they’re most productive, they will, in return be more motivated to put the work in to meet and exceed your expectations. It’s important to understand that to be productive, it’s not a one size fits all formula. People work differently, and flexible working can be that facilitator to get the most out of your staff.

Trust goes a long way, so if staff are about to work flexibly, be given the autonomy to work remotely and work in a way that suit’s the individual and the business, staff satisfaction and bettering your company culture will be a natural progression that results from flexible working.

So who said flexible working only benefits the employee?