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Workplace Flexibility: What's in store?

The world of work is still debating the relevance of flexibility in the workplace; however, employees are clear on redefining today's working model. In this blog, we decided to cover what the future working model is expected to look like during 2023.

As 2022 began, there were many businesses that had adapted to a working style that was altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, implementing hybrid and remote working techniques. By May 2022, Office of National Statistics data showed that the workforce had settled into a pattern, where around a fifth of UK workers worked part of the week from an office and the remainder from their homes or somewhere else.

Last year, we also saw the start of a four-day work week trial - and the results had shown much higher productivity levels and happiness amongst the workers. This encouraged conversations about the shorter work week becoming mainstream within the decade.

People are seeing work differently. Data from LinkedIn has shown that more than a third of workers have said they would quit if they were asked to return back to the office full-time. The Future Forum have also found that 65% of UK workers are seeking significant flexibility in their working schedule. Adding to these statistics, the government recently announced in early December that they plan to bring in a new legislation - allowing people the right to request flexible work from their first day in a role, instead of having to wait 26 weeks.

There is nothing more rewarding than the workforce having an opportunity to work at their own pace and convenience - this will make many businesses stand out, attract new talent, whilst also retaining their own employees for a longer period.

With the recession creeping up and some sectors, including 'big tech', experiencing significant layoffs - should we expect to return to the pre-pandemic days consisting of five days in office? Here's what people are looking for:

Compressed timetables - Most employees are expected to complete an eight-hour shift, five days a week. However, employees with compressed schedules will finish their 40-hour work week in just four days. Although this involves much longer workdays, it results in an additional day off during the week - and most employees will choose to have Mondays or Fridays off to make the most of a three-day weekend. There are plenty of organisations who have adopted the four-day work week without any salary cuts, showing a great acceptance of the flexible working model.

Flexible times - Workers who work flexible hours are able to start and stop their workday whenever they please. Employees are given full responsibility to set their own shifts, provided they remain productive, meet the deadlines, and produce work to the best of their abilities. There are even some circumstances where workers may be permitted to work less than 40 hours per week.

Remote work - Working remotely is extremely common in workplace flexibility. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you have the option to carry out business from your home, a local coffee shop, and even in further locations. Usually, remote workers are also able to have the option of working flexible hours.

The Benefits

Flexible working can also be extremely attractive to employers too. Some of those benefits include the following:

Higher employee retention: Staff turnover is usually extremely expensive and even time-consuming for most organisations. If an employee of yours is seeking more of a flexible working model, and you don't offer that, they can end up looking for a new role elsewhere and even heading over to a competitor. Offering flexible opportunities will help to retain your existing and future employees.

Increased productivity: Productivity is essential in any role within the workplace and studies have shown that introducing flexibility in the work environment improves productivity levels as a whole.

Higher engagement: Creating a working environment that shows respect and empowers employees is definitely a way to improve employee engagement. By letting your employees work flexibly, this shows that you trust and can rely on them to get their work done through their own initiative.

If an employee feels that their company cares for them and their wellbeing, they will be more engaged with the company and their work. Not only will it improve an individual's productivity, but it can also contribute to the overall team's morale.

Increased diversity: With most candidates now looking for workplace flexibility, not offering this can limit your candidate pool drastically. Limiting your job offerings means that there are less people who can work the exact role, just from different locations or needing different hours. By creating flexible working schedules, you may find the perfect candidate for your company.

To conclude, 2023 will definitely experience changes in the traditional corporate culture. These changes will need to favour flexibility in the workplace in order to induce positivity amongst workers for stronger recruitment and retention opportunities, as this is what people want from the world of work.

Organisations have acknowledged that flexibility is essential for success with both the employer and employees - with the vast majority of employees preferring remote or hybrid working models and having the flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time.

Let us know what you think!

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