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Flexible Working - A Right or a Privilege

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​The coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic have changed countless aspects of all of our lives. One major area that’s been impacted? Jobs and careers. The way we work has radically changed over the past year and a half or so. As governments around the world implemented lockdowns, social distancing measures and social distancing guidelines in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, those who could work from home began to work from home. Sure, vaccines may be being rolled out now and a return to life as we knew it could be on the horizon in many ways. But many workers’ eyes have been opened to modes of working that offer them plenty of benefits and are becoming reluctant to head back to strict, in-office, nine to five positions. So, what does this mean for recruitment? Let’s take a moment to delve further into the matter.

Employer Struggles

Right now, news articles are stating that there’s a significant shortage of candidates for positions right now. While it may be true that few people are actively applying for advertised roles, it’s by no means true that there’s a shortage of workers. The workers are out there - they’re just being more specific in their job search and are looking for more specific things from a contract than they might have in the past. Unfortunately, free fruit or beanbag seating in break rooms isn’t quite going to cut it anymore when it comes to recruiting the best candidates out there. There are a number of steps you can take to get candidates on board, but for now, let’s focus on flexible working.

What Do Candidates Want?

So, what are candidates looking for when we talk about flexible working? Well, when it comes down to it, there’s no one right answer. Different candidates have had different options on offer over the past year and a half and different options have proven popular with different workers. Flexible working, put simply, is a mode of working that offers more flexibility than what we may be traditionally used to. Some examples of flexible working include:

● Flexible working hours - candidates may be able to choose what hours they work each week. While they will still need to fulfill their contracted hours, they can choose when they get to complete these. This offers a better work-life balance, as employees can fit in tasks and chores from their personal life around their work. For example, they might start late to drop their children to school and work a couple of hours in the evening to make up for it. Another employee may take a couple of hours out at midday to attend a medical appointment and may make up for it the following morning.

● Remote work - after working from home for months now, many people have grown to love the working situation. People have noted that they prefer cutting out the cost and time entailed in commuting. Many are enjoying not having to find parking in the mornings. Many prefer working from their own home so they can use their own facilities, such as toilets, which they know will be clean and proper. Working from home can prove cheaper and more comfortable for a whole lot of people.

Struggles You Could Face If You Aren’t Flexible

There are a number of struggles that you could face if you refuse to be flexible with your employee’s work. The first is struggles recruiting in the first place. If you’re trying to get new candidates on board, you may find that many candidates are looking for flexible contracts, flexible working hours or remote work, so won’t consider your position at all, or will drop out of the recruitment process at the point that they realise your work isn’t flexible. Another potential issue is that current employees will decide to up and leave, working elsewhere that will offer them more flexible work. At the end of the day, many employers out there are shifting to flexible working models, so if you fall behind the crowd, you could lose out when it comes to your own staff. Another potential issue that staff remaining will be dissatisfied, have lower morale and even lower productivity levels.

Implementing Flexible Working Options

As you can see, flexible working is pretty much paramount right now. So, it’s time to implement some flxible working options into your contracts and general operations. The key to success here is being very clear in what you’re offering before offering it. This can set boundaries, rules and guidelines that can be passed on to employees to ensure that they are still performing well while working flexibly. Set clear KPIs and detail exact numbers of hours per week that you expect your employees to work in total. The more clear everyone is on what they can and can’t do, the better this whole situation will work for everyone.

Advertise Your Flexibility

There’s no point being flexible and keeping it quiet. Instead, make sure that you advertise your flexibility and let people know what options your business is offering. This will make you and your job adverts more appealing, bringing in more potential candidates. You want to make sure that you are visibly flexible if you’re going to be offering this benefit. Benefits that you’re offering your potential candidates should be listed early on in your job ad. You may also want to survey current staff about what is and isn’t working with them to ensure that you’re doing things right.

As you can see, a lot has changed recently and you’re going to have to make sure that you keep up with these changes to keep your current staff happy and to recruit new team members who could prove to be beneficial members to your team. Hopefully, some of the above information will help you to get the ball rolling. What’s most important is that you don’t bury your head in the sand. With so many employers offering flexibility, you really will begin to miss out if you remain stubborn in old ways.