Flexible working is here to stay; is your business thinking ahead?

Flexible working is here to stay; is your business thinking ahead?

Whilst forward-thinking employers have, for some time,been gaining a competitive advantage through a commitment to flexible workingas part of their employer proposition, the pandemic has only served to sharpenthe focus for employers on what it takes to attract the best talent and supportthem to achieve their potential.

With many businesses publicly stating their commitment toflexible working in recent months (Airbnb being a prime example), you may beconsidering what this means for you and your own business. Whilst the specificswill vary by industry and scale, one thing is for certain; for a business to successfullynavigate the challenges of a world post-pandemic, they must understand their“Why”, “What” and “How” regarding flexible working…

Why is flexible working good for our business, ourpeople and our customers?

Understanding the advantages of flexible working is thefundamental starting point for developing a clear strategy. Unfortunately, manyemployers have fallen into the trap of thinking that the only group who benefitfrom flexible working are the staff who can work “where and when they like”.This view is too simplistic and misses the significant commercial advantageswhich can be gained through having a clear, well-considered approach.

At Wolferstans, we care passionately about creating aworking environment where our people can be their best and believe that thisallows them to deliver exceptional legal experiences for our clients. Our ethosis built around the principle that happy, healthy, and motivated staff willdeliver the best possible outcomes for our clients and encourage them torecommend us to friends and family.

What might work in our business? What definitelywon’t work?

Whilst flexible working has many advantages, these willvary from business to business. It may seem obvious to say, but what might workwell for a contact centre may not be appropriate for a manufacturing facility.

Taking the time to carefully consider the implications ofinitiatives such as remote working and what the advantages and challenges mightbe in your specific situation is an important step, but don’t feel you need todo this alone; your staff, customers and suppliers may have useful ideas andinput – don’t be afraid to ask them!

For some of our people, flexible working means start and finishtimes are tailored around the school run or the option of working remotelyduring the week; for others, an office-based role with 9am-5pm working hoursmay be more appropriate due to the nature of their roles. Whenever we discussflexible arrangements with our people, we must satisfy ourselves (as a minimum)that they will not negatively impact our ability to deliver to our clients.

How do we articulate our approach to staff,customers, and candidates?

At this stage, if an employer is unprepared for open andhonest dialogue during a recruitment process about the attitudes andconsiderations which underpin their approach to flexible working, they areplacing themselves at a serious disadvantage in an extremely competitive marketwhen it comes to attracting top talent to their business.

At Wolferstans, we are committed to engaging with each ofour employees about the solution which works best for them and for our clients.When interviewing candidates, we want to understand how, when and where they’lldo their best work and how this would work alongside our existing team beforemaking any decisions.

To compete for talent now and in the future, employersmust be able to articulate their approach to flexible working to the market asa whole, as well as to individual candidates.

  • Why do we value employees working from home?
  • What benefits do we see in collaborative workingin a shared location/office?
  • What flexibility is available around workinghours and why might some timings be non-negotiable? 

Unless an employer is able to answer these questions forthemselves and share the answers with existing and potential new employeesalike, they will almost certainly notice the impact on recruitment andretention of talented people.

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