Flexible Working

The Key to a Happier Workforce

Are your employees happy? 

According to a recent report, 88% of UK companies agree they have an emotional duty of care to their employees - so if your employees are unhappy, then it’s your job to do something about it! The report, undertaken by strategic insight agency Opinium, concluded that the surefire way to boost mood and morale amongst your employees, is to offer flexible working. 

In this article, we’ll explore why caring about your staff’s state of mind isn’t just the right thing to do: it can actually help you get ahead of the competition! 

After examining why happy employees are better employees, we’ll be sharing 4 reasons why flexible working is your quickest and easiest route to a happier workforce. 

Work anywhere, at any time: What is flexible working?

Flexible working will look different for different companies, but it generally involves giving your employees the option to work outside of company premises, for example working from home, their favourite cafe, or local library. 

Many modern employers also offer flexible working hours - whether that’s giving employees the freedom to dictate their own schedule, setting a generous timeframe for when they should arrive at the office, or being open to temporary changes, for example starting work later in the day during school holidays. 

Giving your employees any kind of freedom, is going to make them feel more appreciated, supported and generally happier in the workplace. However, remote working and flexible hours have the potential to make the biggest impact on an employee’s overall mood, as they’re the benefits that consistently top employees’ “most wanted” lists. 

According to the 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of employees want the option to work remotely, while almost half of all respondents identified flexible hours as the biggest perk of remote working. 

By introducing flexible working, you can give your employees the things they want the most - that’s going to have a positive impact on anyone’s mood! 

Why employers should care about flexible working

As a responsible employer, you have a moral obligation to promote a healthy mindset amongst your staff, but there’s also financial benefits to keeping your workforce in a positive mental state. 

A happy employee is going to work harder and stick around for longer, so you won’t have to waste time, effort and money hiring their replacement. Employees who enjoy their job are also far less likely to take unnecessary absences, and will strive to complete their work, even under challenging circumstances such as unexpected illness or family emergencies. 

Keeping your staff happy is a surefire route to a more productive, motivated and enthusiastic workforce, who take fewer sick days and are always willing to go the extra mile - but not every company sees it that way! 

The Opinium report found that 12% of UK businesses fail to recognize the importance of supporting their staff’s emotional wellbeing. According to Katharine Moxham, a spokesperson for GRiD, these businesses are more likely to suffer from higher-than-average absence rates, falling productivity, and lower staff retention levels. 

Speaking about the risks involved in neglecting your staff, Katharine concluded that: “No forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional wellbeing of its most valued asset.” 

By promoting emotional and mental health via flexible working, you’re not just being a responsible employer - you’re getting the very best out of your staff, and potentially getting an edge over the competition! 

Top 4 benefits of a flexible working strategy 

So, happy employees are hard-working employees, but why is flexible working so important for boosting staff morale? 

In this section, we’ll look at 4 reasons why remote working and flexible hours can have a huge impact on your staff’s mood. 

1. It’s easier to have a life, outside of the workplace 

Wouldn’t it be simpler, if work was all we had to worry about? 

Everyone has commitments outside of the workplace, including major commitments such as raising children, or caring for vulnerable friends and relatives. 

Flexible working can remove a significant amount of stress from employees who are struggling to balance their responsibilities inside and outside the workplace. 

Beyond serious commitments such as caring for an elderly relative, there’s countless activities that may not be life-or-death, but are essential for keeping an employee happy and healthy. Whether it’s visiting the gym every morning, playing for their local football team, or spending 

time with friends and family throughout the week, your employees need to have a life outside of the office. 

By offering flexible working, you can make it easier for employees to fulfill all of their commitments, large and small, which is going to put them in a more positive mental space. Even just knowing that they can adjust their work to make time for personal commitments, will make your employees feel happier and more supported in the workplace.

2. Free up an hour, every single day  

A survey by PowWowNow found that 45% of people spend over an hour commuting to work every single day

Giving your employees the option to work remotely can significantly reduce their weekly commute, saving them time and money, and sparing them the frustration of getting out of bed early every single morning, just to stand at a bus stop in the rain! 

For an employee who decides to work from home, the daily commute could become as quick and stress-free as rolling out of bed and powering up their laptop. 

Having the option to skip the daily commute to and from work, can make employee sastificiation skyrocket.

3. Save your employees £1,500 per year 

While an employee could bring a packed lunch into work every day, and limit their refreshments to the office kettle, let’s be real: the workplace is full of temptation. 

Whether it’s grabbing a latte on the way to work, indulging in a midweek lunch at the cafe around the corner, or popping to the local pub for a few drinks after work, when you're physically present in the office, you’re surrounded by temptation. 

According to research by government regulator Ofgem, the average UK office worker spends almost £1,500 every single year on lunch and coffees

Working from home removes many of these temptations. Without all those takeaway coffees and sandwich-and-a-packet-of-crisps meal deals, your staff may find themselves with significantly more cash left over at the end of the month. 

While money doesn’t automatically equal happiness, it’s always a nice surprise to finish the month with more money than you were anticipating! 

An employee who feels like their wages are stretching significantly further these days, is going to feel much happier about their job. 

4. Perfect for night owls and early birds 

Traditionally, office-based jobs have favoured early risers. 

Employees who are at their desks bright and early, are often perceived as “better” employees, compared to an employee who rolls up mid-morning, even if that person stays late every single evening. 

Just because someone isn’t a morning person doesn’t automatically make them a bad employee. By offering flexible hours, you can get the most out of all your employees, regardless of whether they’re night owls or early birds. 

Although we tend to think of flexible hours as mainly benefiting night owls, early risers will also appreciate the freedom to set their own schedule. An early bird who gets up at the crack of dawn and then has to hang around, waiting until it’s socially acceptable to head into the office, may become demotivated and feel like they’ve wasted the best part of the day. 

Depending on your business, it may not be feasible to just let your employees work whenever they want. However, you should try to give them some leeway when it comes to start and finish times, particularly if they’re working from home and aren’t constrained by normal office opening and closing hours. 

By offering flexible hours, your employees can work at the times when they naturally feel more energized and productive, which is going to have a positive impact on their mood. 

Ready to make your employees happy? 

The key to a successful flexible working strategy, is providing your employees with the modern, cloud-based technologies that’ll enable them to work from any location, at any time. 

With access to advanced cloud apps such as Office 365, your early risers can log into their corporate apps from the comfort of their own home, and put in a few hours of work before their colleagues are even out of bed! 

An employee who’s expecting an important delivery at home, can attend all of their meetings via Microsoft Teams without ever having to leave their house. And, an employee who’s struggling to juggle their work while also caring for a sick relative, has the option to work remotely whenever emergencies arise - or if they simply feel like their relative might need someone on-hand, on that particular day. 

Want to learn more about how modern cloud tech such as Office 365 can benefit you and your employees? You can book a free consultation with one of our specialist cloud engineers, who’ll be happy to talk through your unique requirements and recommend the cloud applications that your business needs, in order to roll out a successful flexible working strategy. 

Want more information on remote working during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic? Check out our guide to supporting your remote workers during these challenging times

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Speak to a member of our team today 0114 292 2911 or email sales@systemsassurance.com if you need any assistance.

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