The demand for a flexible approach to working life is on the increase. With the days of the 9-5 being viewed as the only work day option, drawing to a close.
Swathes of professionals, whose careers have been carved out through hard work, dedication and long days at the office remain as committed to their careers today as ever. Yet find themselves drawn to the wake-up call of a better way of working; one that allows for more time to balance family life, home life and personal passions alongside their career. In fact since 1997, part-time workers has risen from 6.5 million to 7.85 million with 82% of part-time workers actively choosing such roles to fit their lifestyle*.
By taking a more holistic approach to work that truly works, with the multiple facets of our increasingly hectic lives, companies can reap the benefits available.
The flexibility of working hours offers a great deal of opportunity to employees, but also employers. Where hiring flexibly and introducing changes that could include everything from home-based working to flexible start & finish times, job sharing options to part-time work and compressed hours, could open up a talent pool that is highly skilled yet seeking something outside of what, for too long, has been considered the norm.
CBI research shows that nearly all employers (96%) use at least one form of flexible working and nearly three quarters (70%) offer three types or more.** So why are professional services roles so far behind this growing trend?
Flexible Working is the Most Important Feature of a Job
Being able to define when, where and how they work has a far greater appeal for young professionals. After financial benefits, flexible working is the most important feature of a job: in EY’s report, 73% of Generation X and 71% of millennials say they want the informal option to work flexibly; and an even higher percentage to work flexibly and still be in line for promotion.
Karyn Twaronite, EY global diversity and inclusiveness officer, wrote: “Many of them are moving into management at the same time as they are becoming parents. Their work hours have increased over the last five years, they are twice as likely to travel overnight for business as other generations and they are more likely to be part of a dual-career family than their [baby] boomer counterparts.
“They want to work flexibly without stigmas… Companies need to keep pace with them or risk losing out on their talent.”
It’s also disappointing to note that none of the companies on Glassdoor’s list of top 20 perk providers is in the professional services sector, and these firms are often behind the curve in offering non-financial rewards.***
Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, comments: “Widening skills gaps, a lag in productivity and Brexit on the horizon mean British businesses are struggling to find, hire and retain the workers they need. Flexible working is an untapped solution to the UK’s biggest business challenges: the more employees are able to choose the right schedule for them, the happier – and therefore more productive – they’ll be. But, it’s clear that the current mindset needs to change.
Flexibility does not need to mean increased costs and logistical nightmares; in fact, with the right tools in place, it’s simple and economical.”
Why Now is the Right Time
As flexible working specialists, Ten2Two work with companies to attract the best talent through offering flexible working opportunities. Yet despite many leading professional services firms taking a forward-thinking approach to flexibility, there are still a lot of companies who are yet to get on board with the tremendous benefits of thinking outside of the 9-5 box.
By getting flexible working right, your company could benefit from savings on overheads thanks to employees working from home, a reduction in sickness absence, improved employee engagement and productivity, greater morale and an enhancement to your overall company culture.
Possibly and most critically of all, by embracing flexibility, you’re saying yes to a fresh pool of talent and are on track for significantly improved employee retention.
There has never been a better time to make the move to a flexible working approach. Changes in legislation, with the flexible working law passed in the UK in 2014, society demands and technology advancements that enable work from anywhere at any time are normalising the many different forms that work can now take.
This coupled with research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), finding that the majority of UK employees surveyed would appreciate being offered flexible working, means that now is truly the time to make the shift.
Get in touch to find out how we can make this work for you.
Read how some forward-thinking professional services companies in Kent are embracing this way of working.
* The Recruitment and Employment Confederation – flexible work commission report
** CBI/Pearson Educational Skills Survey 2017