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Flexible working hours have become extremely popular in recent years. Flexi-time was once considered a unique job perk. However, people are now starting to see it as more of a necessity. This is especially the case for working parents.
So, could flexible work hours become the norm within five years? If so, what benefits might they provide?
More Businesses Than Ever Are Focused on Flexible Working Hours
A recent study carried out by YouGov on behalf of RSM has revealed that three-quarters of businesses are considering introducing flexible working hours within the next 5 years. This includes allowing employees to work outside of the standard 9-5 time frame. Alternatively, it allows employees to work from home. Only 6% of businesses claimed they had no plans to introduce flexi-time.
This shows that most businesses see the value of offering flexible working hours. However, many expressed concerns about offering a more flexible workplace. There’s no denying there can be challenges. However, when done correctly, flexible working hours boost productivity. What’s more, flexi-time increases employee satisfaction. Finally, a more flexible workplace leads to an increase in a company’s bottom line.
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How Could Flexible Working Hours Improve Work/Life Balance?
Flexible working hours were largely introduced into the workplace to address issues with work and life balance.
As the cost of living has gradually increased, it has placed a lot of financial pressure on families. It used to be commonplace for one parent to stay home with the kids. However, now many parents find they can’t afford to live on one person’s wage. When both parents need to work, it can be a real struggle trying to juggle work and family life. That’s where flexible working hours really come in useful.
With flexi-time, employees can better accommodate parental responsibilities. For example, dropping children off at school in the mornings and picking them up after school are logistically easier if a parent has flexible hours. Additionally, picking kids up when they’re sick and attending parent-teacher meetings are also easier to juggle. Flexi-time allows parents to better balance their careers and their home life. This in turn can make them much more productive employees.
What Challenges Do Flexible Working Hours Present?
While the benefits of flexible working hours are well known, the challenges certainly can’t be ignored.
Some experts warn that flexible work hours can actually cause employees to become ill. Research carried out in 2016 revealed that workers who work flexible hours, especially from home, find it difficult to switch off. Their job no longer remains just at the office. Instead, they take their work home with them. The inability to switch off from work can lead to added stress. Some employees can have problems with sleeping and other potential health concerns.
There’s also the worry over security. Many businesses fear that allowing their employees to work from home would compromise security. While there are ways around these challenges, it’s easy to understand why some businesses are still reluctant to introduce flexible working hours.
Nonetheless, it’s highly likely that flexible working hours will become the new norm within five years. Technologies are constantly being developed and adapted to make flexible working more feasible. Employers are also starting to see the benefits a flexible workforce can deliver. It’s true that there are challenges. However, the benefits of flexible working hours far outweigh the initial risks and concerns.