We have all heard the term ‘Flexible Working Conditions’ but what does that actually mean?
The Government of Canada describe it as “ an arrangement that allows employees to alter, on a temporary or permanent basis, their work schedule, the number of hours they work or the location where they do their work, or to take leave from work to meet responsibilities outside of work (Government of Canada, 2016)”
In simple terms, it gives power to the employee. It allows employees to have a conversation with their employers about their particular working style and what is needed to achieve work-life balance.
It is evident that people have more responsibility than ever before. Travel commitments, workplace training schedules, fitness regimes and children are just some of the everyday things that professionals need to juggle.
Can you imagine if your schedule could be flexible, depending on your responsibilities!
- Starting your working day at 9:30 am after you have packed lunch boxes and dropped your kids off at school.
- Taking your first conference call from the comfort of your own home and avoiding that awful rush hour traffic.
- Scheduling in a 1-hour lunch break at 2 pm to coincide with your favourite fitness class.
- Finishing early on a Friday to enjoy that weekend away you have been planning.
Having the ability to shuffle your work schedule around your personal commitments can be life-changing.
A great example of this theory in practice can be found in Finland, which has been the world leader in flexible working conditions since 2011. “This can be traced back to 1996 when the Working Hours Act was passed, which gives employees the right to adjust the typical daily hours of their workplace by starting or finishing up to three hours earlier or later”. Building on this law, the country is set to revise the law in 2020 which will allow the majority of the employed population to decide when and where they will work for at least half of their working hours (Savage, BBC, 2019)”.
This is an incredible luxury that gives employees the freedom to create their perfect work-life balance. Whether it is working for 3 months of the year our of a summer home in Italy or working from home every morning whilst spending time with the family. The options are endless and ensure that every individual will be able to find their unique version of balance.
If you aren’t already sold on the idea as an employer, let’s talk about some of the benefits of introducing flexible working arrangements for your team.
- First of all, you are likely to keep your team members. A survey by flexjobs found that over 30% of employees have left a job because it lacked flexibility, with 80% stating they would be loyal to a company that offered flexible working hours. (Rathore, Small Business Trends, 2019).
- The productivity of your team increases. The office can be a nightmare for distractions, whether it is catching up with colleagues, a long and time-consuming commute or a barrage of unnecessary meetings. When people are removed from the office environment and can select when and where they work best, overall productivity increases.
- Your employees will be happy. One of the most important elements of flexible arrangements is that it boosts the happiness of your employees. Happy employees = engaged employees. When individuals feel that they are valued and their wellbeing is a priority, they are more engaged at work, which boosts team morale, achieves company goals and lowers turnover.
So next time you are reviewing company policies, take the time to converse with your team and see what their idea of work-life balance looks like.
Flexible working conditions are the future and will ensure your team performs for years to come.
Photos by: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise & 2018 Cunningham ‘Going to Helsinki? 10 tips for a holiday in Finland’s capital, CNN Travel