Flexible working

Essay by marco23D+, October 2004

download word file, 7 pages 4.5


The concept of 'a job for life' and a compliant, loyal workforce is long gone. In its place are more self-determined employees who know their rights and demand ever more freedom, flexibility and co-operation from their employer frequently with powerful unions, and now new legislation to back them up.


Flexible working is a broad term covering a variety of working time patterns and other working arrangements. For employers, flexible-working helps to meet business needs in a competitive environment by improving retention, responsiveness and reducing employment costs and overheads. For employees, flexible working can help to achieve a better balance between home and work priorities.

For employers the benefits enable them to:

Attract a greater range of skilled candidates

Retain valued employees

Improve services to customers

Increase productivity

Reduce absenteeism

Improve staff motivation and loyalty

Build reputation as best practice employer

Reduce unplanned staff shortages

Benefits for employees include:

A better work-life balance

Less stress and improved health

Greater control over working lives

Greater responsibility and sense of self value

Loyalty and commitment

Reduces commuting problems

Industrial Society survey

A recent Industrial Society survey of 516 human resource specialists found that 91% of respondents' organizations use some form of flexible working.

This compares with 84% in 1998. 75% of respondents said that flexible working made good business sense for the organisation, with almost two-thirds (63%) saying that it builds trust, loyalty and commitment.

But many businesses (31%) apply flexible working practices only at an informal level. The Industrial Society argues that there is a risk that informal policies can short-circuit employee consultation and lead to inconsistencies.

Other, less significant problems, may prejudice some employers against the concept, including: said

Communication difficulties (cited by 43% of respondents)

Difficulty in managing varying working arrangements (31%)

And resentment from staff on standard...