Flexible working is a topic that’s been on everyone’s lips since the first UK lockdown in March 2020 and the conversation isn’t ending any time soon.
Finally, we seem to be catching up to the idea that flexible working is a huge positive for businesses and employees alike, and yet when I talk to people about seeking out flexible work opportunities there still exists the fear that requiring flexible work makes us less attractive to potential employers.
Well, let me tell you. It doesn’t!
Now is the time to be confident in requesting flexibility in your work. Covid has proven that flexibility is simply a necessary part of working life and working outside of the nine to five is becoming increasingly normal. Perhaps you’ve been fitting emails between home school sessions or powering through a piece of writing long after most have gone to bed. You’ve proven that when work needs to get done, it does, and businesses have been able to witness this.
There seems to be a lot of focus out there on convincing businesses that flexible working works, but let’s flip that on its head. Here are six reasons why a flexible employee is more appealing to a business than someone who’s adamant on the nine to five. Keep these reasons in mind when you’re looking for that perfect flexible role and own them.
- Greater cost-effectiveness and efficiency – Ultimately, businesses want to make money and hiring flexible workers is a great way to increase cost-effectiveness and efficiency. No more wasting money paying a full-time employee when part-time flexible hours are all that is needed. No more money wasted on overheads if employees are working from home. No more time wasted on understandably distracted employees working hours that don’t actually work for them. By being able to work flexibly, in many ways you’re saving the business time and money.
- Extended operating hours – If you happen to have the ability in the evening but can’t make that 9am start because you’re on school run duty, you’re actually providing the business with the perfect opportunity to extend their operating hours. If different members of the team can work different hours, it means businesses can be available to clients and customers for a larger portion of the day.
- More skilled and diverse – Just because you’ve asked for flexibility, it doesn’t mean you aren’t skilled and experienced in the role. Remember that your skills are valuable, and you will be able to bring something unique to the business: you! Flexible working means more opportunities for a range of diverse people, and more diverse people in a business means a wider range of skills, experiences and perspectives to draw upon.
- Greater continuity – With flexible working you can ensure when you work works for you. You can have a better handle on your work-life balance and therefore you’re likely to be more content and focused at work. Not only does this improve productivity, but high retention rates also mean that the business can keep experienced employees who can often offer a better overall service.
- Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty – As a direct result of the above, a business’s customers and/or clients are likely to feel far more satisfied if they are given consistency and are able to build relationships with the individuals they liaise with.
- Improved competitiveness – A flexible workforce means businesses can react to changing market conditions more quickly and effectively. You help increase the businesses’ ability to pivot as and when necessary.
Next time you resist asking for flexible work because you’re worried about being passed over because it has these reasons in mind. Go forward with confidence and know that your request is actually a huge win for your employer.
By Jess Heagren at That Works For Me