Monday, 25 April 2016

7 Reasons Flexible Working is the Future

As well as reading lifestyle/fashion/beauty blogs I try and read business and marketing blogs every day. Two companies I follow very closely are Buffer and Arment Dietrich (Spin Sucks). Recently, flexible working has been on my mind a lot and it so happens both companies follow a flexible working mentality and blog about their experience.

7 reasons flexible working is the future

My understanding of flexible working is the opportunity to work contracted hours (if you do have specified contract hours) however and wherever you want. Rather than working a traditional 9-5 within an office.
  I really believe flexible working is the future and here's 7 reasons why:

1. It offers a break from living for the weekend 

Be honest, how often have you uttered the phrase "I'll do that at the weekend?" or "I don't have time but will put it on my to do list for the weekend?" I do it all the time: going to the post office, tidying the living room, giving the bathroom a good clean, paying in a cheque. 

The result? Filling our weekends with endless tasks so that by the time we get back to our desks at 9am on Monday morning we feel like we need another break. Last Monday I took a day's holiday just to catch up on things, I'd been away for the weekend and hadn't had time to tick bits off my to do list so I went to the post office, paid in a cheque, filled out some forms, did some food shopping. It was great! Everything was less busy, I felt accomplished and set up for the week ahead. But right now it's not feasible to take a day off every week to get stuff done. Hence, they get pushed to the weekends. 

Flexible working opens up opportunities within a "normal" work day to get things done.

2. It opens up opportunities 

What would you do if you had an extra hour in your day? Sleep? Exercise? Write? I like to think I'd go the gym or do some blogging. In reality I would probably sleep or watch another episode of Glee! 

Flexible working isn't some sort of magic formula that adds an extra hour to your day, but it does offer opportunities to fit extra things into your schedule. Start an hour later and begin your day with a spin class, if that's your thing. Or take a longer lunch break and write for half an hour or y'know take a nap. Naps are important. 

3. It opens up even BIGGER opportunities 

This might look like the last point but.. it's not. What happens when your job, like most jobs now, means you can work from anywhere with a wifi connection? It means you can work from ANYWHERE! We've entered the age of the digital nomad. If travelling is your thing then jump on a plane, find somewhere beautiful with an internet connection and get to work. For example, take my friend Louise who just returned from working in Egypt. Get a look at her "office". 

Digital Nomad
But it doesn't have to mean that. Being able to "work from home" has meant I can drive down to my sister's on a Thursday night and work from her house on the Friday giving me the opportunity to a) break up the drive to Bournemouth and b) spend more time with my sister and brother in law. 

4. It changes your work/life balance 

Which brings me to my next point, flexible working offers the opportunity to be where you need to be. I know of people who work from home so they can be with their child at the same time. They might work in the morning then take the afternoon off to be fully focussed on parenting and then in the evening they pick the hours back up. Or perhaps you have a relative who is sick? and it's beneficial for you to be near them in the hospital. 

5. It empowers people 

Let's be honest, it's going to become apparent quickly if you're taking advantage. if your version of working from home is not even checking emails, you're just watching Jeremy Kyle; or if you're lazing on the beach. You will get found out and there will be consequences. Flexible working puts trust into employees to be accountable for what they do, when they do it and where they do it.

6. It recognises people's strengths

Hands up if you're a morning person? You guys are amazing! I used to be one of you. But now, I benefit from a bit of extra sleep. I'm currently writing this at 8.30pm and I genuinely think that's one of my best times to work. My brain just gets in the zone. Flexible working doesn't put people in a 9-5 box, instead it asks "what's going to work for you? When will you be most productive and give the best of yourself?" 

7. It focusses on quality, not quantity 

Some people are very methodical and take their time over their work and they need the full 40 hours or more a week to get their work done. Some people don't need as much time, they work quickly and get it done. I know which one I am, and that's not to say that there's a right or wrong. But if you don't really need the full 40 hours, is that efficient? Flexible working focusses on the what you did and the quality of the work rather than how long it took to do it in. Again, if you're saying you did it and so now you're taking some "well earned time away from your screen" and it's not to a good enough quality? well, on your back be it!!

I'm not saying flexible working will be possible for all roles, my sisters work in healthcare and education, however, I really do believe as I we understand more about the effects work/life balance and sleep deprivation and everything else we're researching that flexible working will become more and more prominent. 

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