Flexibility is increasingly important to people. There is a good degree of flexibility in the way people work here.
Global head of HR, Thomson Reuters ” Mutual benefits for the business and the workforce
This new employment relationship can only be sustainable as a win-win for employees and employers. In the last section we looked at why it developed. Here we turn to why it works for both parties by looking at the question of work-life balance, a key facet of the new relationship.
Nowhere is the value of this new world for employees clearer than in the question of managing work and caring responsibilities. Increasingly employees as well as businesses want to have flexibility. And we know this will become more important over time as elder care becomes more of an issue for employees alongside childcare. Staff want to have the freedom to ensure they can meet their wider responsibilities.
For their part, employers want flexibility to meet sudden changes in demand, but they also know that engaged employees, who enjoy their work and feel that it is complementary to their home life rather than conflicting with it, deliver more effectively. The employee engagement task force amongst others has already identified some of the benefits that can flow to firms, in terms of business growth, lower staff turnover and customer relations. For instance, Standard Chartered reported to the task force that profit margin growth was 16% higher in those branches which saw a statistically significant increase in
8 employee engagement.
“Employees want to have more flexibility in work and life,” says Charles Logan, Director at Hays. “For instance, a large number of technical and skilled people don’t want full-time employment and want to work in a self-employed environment. They want to have flexible work patterns and are happy to negotiate the terms they wish to work on.”
Flexible working – in terms of both time and location – is now deeply ingrained as a standard feature of the modern workplace. Many employers go beyond their statutory obligations to offer a wide range of flexible working options. Seven out of 10 employers who took part in the CBI’s 2011 Employment Trends Survey said they offered at least three flexible options, for instance.
“The key word for employment today is flexibility and it’s being demanded on both sides,” says Vance Kearney at Oracle. Marion Leslie, global head of sales at Thomson Reuters, says: “The global nature of my team means I might do early calls from home then take the children to school, work the school day, take a break, collect the children and then do calls in the evening. I might have a day that’s split into three.” Employee choice about how to work is why the right to choose working hours is so important, and is one reason why businesses have defended the individual opt-out from the Working
The more flexible relationship works for employers and employees
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