Is 9-5 working reaching retirement age?
In June 2014, the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees where previously, it had only been open to employees with caring responsibilities or people who look after children.
Since that time, the number of flexible working requests has seen a gradual increase, however it hasn’t yet had a significant impact on the core hours for many businesses and it is common for businesses which have not yet embraced flexible working to see it as something which will be detrimental, resulting in employees not being present for important meetings or to answer an important customer call.
But is that about to change?
What if I said that by introducing or expanding the flexible working options available to your employees, you could increase productivity, improve response rates to customers, improve talent recruitment and retention as well as reducing employee stress levels,?
A recent survey by CV Library found that three quarters (76.7%) of the 1,200 UK professional respondents think that a four day working week would be beneficial to them; with over a third (39.9%) agreeing it would make staff more productive. Not only this but 24.7% believe it will allow them more time to enjoy their private life, relax and unwind (14.8%).
The research revealed that over half (58.6%) of workers believe that the traditional 9-5 is an outdated concept, with the majority (49%) agreeing that this is because mobile working options mean people can work from anywhere at any time. Advances in online technology have changed the game, giving workers the ability to access their work whenever and wherever they need to. This has resulted in an unprecedented rise in the number of people working from home.
At the same time, cultural and generational changes have brought about a real demand for immediacy among consumers who want solutions to their problems now, not tomorrow, and certainly not after the weekend!
This, coupled with international working relationships, mean it is now increasingly difficult for companies to simply 'switch off' after traditional business hours. This is a huge challenge to the 9 to 5 philosophy.
Increasing Productivity through Flexibility?
Let’s face it, the 9 to 5 model is arbitrary and takes no stock of when people work best. We are a diverse bunch, from those who prefer to be up with the first sparrow, to those who find themselves at their most productive in the evenings after they have finally managed to wrestle their toddlers into bed. These differences are more pronounced than you might think –the CV Library survey found that two thirds (67.6%) of the 1,200 professionals surveyed, would prefer to work hours which suit their natural pattern, when they feel they work best, with 64.2% stating that for them, this is in the morning.
Meeting Millennial Demand
Millennials particularly value the idea of flexibility, in fact, research suggests that up to 50% of millennials would value flexibility over pay when choosing a new job. Stats like this are creating a pressing need for companies to be at least flexible to some extent, and suggest that companies who do not embrace any sort of flexibility, are likely to lose out in their search for future talent as well as suffering a talent retention risk.
The Commuter Challenge
Let’s look at the daily commute, which for many of us takes up significant time and energy. It is said that the average commute will amount to approximately one year of your life spent commuting. Not only is this not the best use of our time, it can also have a significant impact on our mood throughout the day.
Spending an hour, hot and sweaty, standing closer than you would like to people you don’t know on the underground, or sitting in the car in what is basically a motorway car park, is likely to result in the most patient of people arriving at work feeling stressed and dreading the same journey home. Flexible working hours, or the option of working remotely could eliminate this completely and result in a less stressed and more productive employee for your business.
With customers and employees demanding more flexibility from your business, can you afford not to?