The traditional 9 to 5 working day has been the accepted way of running a business for a long time, but now that is starting to change.
Developments in technology and pressure from employees have led to a big increase in more flexible work hours and a rise in remote working. Some countries like the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have adopted a 4 day work week and the results look promising.
Employees are still just as productive in that shorter period and the average wages are higher than a lot of other companies that have a 5 day working week.
It’s obviously a benefit for employees because it gives them more free time and managing their own schedule helps them to fit their other responsibilities, like family, around their work. But is this move toward flexible working practices good news for businesses or not? These are some of the pros and cons of flexible working practices that you should consider if you’re thinking about ditching the 9 to 5 work day.
Increased Employee Morale
All of the benefits for employees should be considered benefits to you as well. Employee morale and motivation is a big factor in productivity so anything you can do to keep your employees happy and healthy is a big bonus. When people feel as though their entire lives revolve around work and they don’t have any free time, they’re not likely to view the company in a favourable light. They feel as though they’re resources and nothing else.
But if they’re allowed to manage their own work schedule and take a bit more time for themselves, employees will feel respected by the company. That goes a long way in improving motivation and productivity around the office so, even though people are working fewer hours, they’re getting more work done.
Reduced Office Space
Renting out an office is one of your biggest expenses but flexible working practices could help you to cut that cost considerably. If you require every employee to be in the office for 8 hours a day, every day, you’ve got to find a space big enough for everybody.
But if people are coming in at different times of day and doing a lot of their work from home, you don’t need to accommodate everybody at once. That means you can make do with a much smaller, and cheaper office space.
You can even use coworking spaces which are incredibly popular at the minute. Instead of renting an entire office space permanently, you can simply pay for desks in a large office as and when you need them. Check out bond collective coworking and office spaces to get an idea of price. It’s far cheaper to rent a few desks each day if you need them rather than renting a large office all of the time.
Wider Talent Pool
Remote working opens up a lot of opportunities for you when it comes to recruiting. If people can do their job remotely from home, you’re not bound by location when looking for talent. You can hire people from literally anywhere in the world. Finding people that are at the very top of their game is the key to business success and by using remote workers, you won’t have to make any sacrifices.
Flexible hours are also a big concern for people when they’re looking at jobs. That means you’ll be able to entice more employees and get the best people to choose you over your rivals.
Extended Operation Hours
Some departments, particularly customer service, benefit from extended operating hours outside of the normal 9 to 5. Getting people that are willing to stay in the office all night is difficult but if people can work from home, they’re more likely to do it.
You can also operate a 24 hour service if you employ people in other countries where it is daytime while it’s night at home. By using live chat services, you can give your customers round the clock support.
Problems With Team Dynamic
Those are all great benefits of flexible working practices but it’s not all good news. There are still some downsides that you need to be aware of. One of the biggest issues is with your team dynamic. Teamwork is essential in business and you need to encourage everybody to pull together. That’s a lot more difficult if they’re not in the office together on a regular basis.
Communication is also more difficult when people are working on team projects together and things might slow down a bit. You can get around this by renting a coworking space and holding regular meetings so everybody is up to speed on what the rest of the team is doing.
You also need to make good use of other communication techniques like video calling or instant messaging so, even though they’re not in the office together, they’re still cooperating with one another.
Lack Of Motivation
Some employees work very well when they’re left to their own devices. They know what times of day they’re most productive and they know how to motivate themselves.
But not everybody is the same and some people really struggle without the direction of a traditional office space.
Instead of working hard all day, they’ll end up watching TV and not getting much done at all.
The best way around this is to phase flexible work in slowly. Let employees stay at home for a day or two each week and review their performance. If they’re getting things done then you can loosen the reigns a bit. But if they’re not working effectively from home, you should revert back to the original way of doing things.
Letting some people work at home while others are in the office all day can cause some tension between employees. The workers in the office might think of the remote workers as slackers and they might feel like they’re being treated unfairly.
A good solution is to explain your reasoning behind your decision to let people be more flexible with their work schedules so nobody feels put out by it.
While there are a few issues to iron out, flexible working practices are, on the whole, a big benefit to the company and its employees so you should consider reviewing your own business.