Even prior to the pandemic, many organizations had already started to support flexibility and transitioned from the typical office-based working environment to either fully remote or a split between remote working and working at the office.
It’s no lie that the government actions against the COVID-19 pandemic were a game-changer for how businesses were run and how the global workforce worked.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, we had to start to work remotely with a more flexible schedule, transform our spare bedrooms into offices, and talk with team members through Zoom rather than sitting around a table in person.
And while these changes hit us somewhat by surprise, they aren’t all bad. In fact, most organizations and employees have started to embrace the shift to flexible working practices and widespread remote work.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how flexible working took the world by storm, what it means for the future of the workplace as we know it today, as well as the benefits of companies employing flexible working models.
The Impact of Remote Work
According to research, about two thirds of the workforce has started to embrace a flexible working schedule. And it’s clear to see why.
From being able to cut down on time and resources spent on commuting to allocating those efforts to exercise, cooking healthy food, or simply spending more time with the family has had its impact on employees in a rather positive way.
And the impact doesn’t end there. Companies on the other hand have been able to become more efficient while cutting down on their costs to a tremendous extent.
No more need to pay rent for the office space, gas and electric bills, insurance, cleaners, and virtually any other expenses that come with maintaining a productive working environment for the employees.
While many businesses and employees have benefited from remote working during the peak of the pandemic, many retail businesses and transportation service providers have cut their working hours, which has led to job losses.
Is Flexible Working Here to Stay?
As we mentioned earlier, many companies and employees have already started to consider making flexible working a permanent practice.
On one hand, employees and managers have become a lot more productive due to a better work life balance and comfort from working at home all while saving hours and tens of pounds in the daily commute to and from the office.
On the flip side of the coin, businesses no longer need to pay rent, electricity, gas, or any other bills that come with creating a pleasant working environment for every staff member.
While we can’t say for sure whether the new era of flexible working is here to stay, what we do know is that a whole lot more employees and companies see the potential and the evident benefits of remote working.
The Benefits of Flexible Working
Flexible working patterns bring a tremendous amount of benefits for both individual employees and employers.
From reduced costs in renting an office space, cutting costs and time spent commuting to being able to spend more time with the family and work from a place of comfort, the advantages are truly endless.
In this section, we’ll go over four of the most impactful benefits that are seen amongst employees and employers by adopting flexible working practices.
A More Productive Workforce
Contrary to popular belief, research shows that the average person has become a lot more productive at their job just by simply working from home. One of the primary reasons for increased productivity is that no effort or time is lost in commuting.
Another big reason is that employees are simply in their comfort zone and don’t have the feeling that someone is constantly watching them. This leads to being more relaxed, thinking clearly, and being more proactive.
Employees who aren’t feeling too well might also not take sick leave as often as they won’t need to leave their home or even bed to still do their job up to standard and meet all the business needs.
Turning the Office Space Into a Hub for Collaboration
Many employers have started to allow their staff the option to work flexibly causing the office as we know it to likely change forever.
If a business decides to still keep the office, all the empty desks can be replaced with collaborative areas where different teams can pop into the office, collaborate, and leave.
This will increase the overall employee satisfaction and productivity as no one person will dread going to the office knowing they aren’t expected to stay at the office until the end of the working day.
Improved Employee Well-Being
While challenges will arise when a company starts to offer flexibility in the workplace, allowing employees to work from home can greatly improve their well-being.
There are a large number of employees who prefer home working, and allowing this will make them feel happier, more satisfied, and allow them to work more efficiently.
This way, employees can take better care of their children, find the time to cook healthy food, exercise, and spend more time with their friends and family, which all have tremendous benefits that will reflect in their levels of output at work.
The way an office looks with a flexible work schedule is very different from what you might expect.
Since not all employees need to come into the office, you can replace regular desks with communal chairs and tables where more employees can work at a time. That way, you can increase the headcount in your office without requiring a larger space.
On the other hand, if you decide to ditch the office workplace model as a whole and shift everything online, you’ll see a tremendous reduction in your business running costs.
You no longer need to pay for rent, gas, electricity, insurance, or any other bills that come with having a physical office space.
Things to Consider When Employing Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible working isn’t going to be smooth sailing all the way. Just like with any aspect of a business, you can expect to encounter some road bumps along the way.
Such events have a major effect on your office’s dynamic, and some people in your team will have a harder time adjusting than others.
Here are some things you need to consider when setting up flexible working practices for your business:
When you deploy flexible work arrangements, you can most certainly expect that all of your employees will submit a lot of their work digitally.
Instead of receiving reports on your desk, you can expect to find more of them stored up in e-mails and uploaded to the cloud. Since your organisation is going to be dealing with a lot more data, you need to make sure that you back it all up.
Data backup is very important in modern workplaces, especially when flexible remote working arrangements are in place.
In the event of a hard drive malfunctioning or files accidentally getting deleted and lost, then data backup is your only hope of retrieving all the lost files.
This can save your employees a lot of time in having to do all the lost work again and your business a lot of resources.
A lot of IT support experts all over the UK offer various services that your business can greatly benefit from.
Another major aspect of your work environment that you need to take seriously is your security.
Since most of your business will be running online, you have to make sure your organisation and all its technology are safe all around. The most basic cybersecurity precaution that you can take is setting up a proper firewall to protect your company’s data.
From there, depending on how secure you want to keep your company data and resources, you can speak to a cybersecurity expert to discuss your security options further.
Communication is Key
Just like with traditional working models, employees need to communicate with each other in order to be more productive and efficient in their efforts.
With remote working, most day-to-day activities will be done online.
For this reason, you may want to consider signing up your entire team with some essential communication services to keep the communication side of things smooth, easy, and secure.
Flexible remote working is not going to completely eliminate the thought of working from a physical office. For some businesses, it just makes sense to have the whole team under one roof while at the same time, for others, it doesn’t.
Whatever approach your business might end up taking, the benefits of remote work and the greater work-life balance that can be achieved are evident and so are the risks involved.
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