Is flexible working more valuable to employees than a pay rise?

Flexible working could be more important to employees than a pay rise in 2018, says Adrian Lewis, Activ Absence.

New research from HSBC highlights flexible and remote working practices are more likely to motivate staff and increase workplace productivity than financial incentives.

Nine out of ten employees (89 per cent) claim that remote working is their number one motivator to boost their productivity at work, compared with 77 per cent of respondents who say financial incentives would motivate them. Other research by HR platform Hibob, finds more than two-fifths (43 per cent) of employees want access to remote working arrangements as part of their employee benefits package.

Since the right to request remote working after 26 weeks employment became law in 2014 more companies are embracing it, however, some are still resistant.

Timewise, supported by EY Flexible Working published a report into remote working entitled ‘A Talent Imperative’ in September. It finds only 10 percent of jobs with salaries of over £20,000 were advertised as being open to flexible working, even though 63 per cent of UK employees work flexibly.

See also: What sort of contract will I need if I want to employ staff on a flexible basis?

Flexibility as a priority

The research also highlights flexible working will grow in importance. More than 73 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 who are working full time do so flexibly. Additionally, 69 per cent of those who do not currently work flexibly would like to do so.

Adrian Lewis, director of Activ Absence says, ‘In most companies, the technology is in place to enable people to work as effectively from home and the benefits speak for themselves. Flexible working cuts commuting time, reduces emissions and keeps people of all ages happy, motivated and more productive. It is a highly prized benefit that can help make companies become an employer of choice. Given this, why are some companies reluctant to embrace it?

‘One obvious barrier is the fact that in some sectors such as retail, hospitality or healthcare it just isn’t practical to have staff working remotely. We have noticed another major barrier is that many companies struggle to keep track of employees working flexible hours or remotely and consequently worry productivity will dip if they encourage it.

‘To operate flexible working effectively, managers need visibility of where people are working, the ability to set up meetings remotely and ensure that when people say they are working remotely, they are as available as they are when in the office.’

‘Companies therefore don’t just need flexible working policies, flexible working needs to be embedded in the culture, supported by the board but vitally also underpinned by robust IT systems that provide transparency and clarity over who is working where at all times. Only then will flexible working be truly effective.’

Further reading on flexible working

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Flexible Working

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