Skip to main content

Understanding the positive impacts of flexible working

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 21 Aug 2023

Flexible Working Hero Image

The more traditional 9-5 working days are now a thing of the past for many people. Over the last few years, more and more individuals have been introduced to the idea of flexible working and the benefits it could bring to both their personal and working lives. 

Flexible working is when businesses allow their employees to work around their own schedule. This works both ways, in order to keep both the employer and employee happy, they workout a solution. This may include working from home permanently or temporarily, working different hours, flex-hours, and even having the option of job sharing. Flexible working can mean different things to different people and it’s important to talk to your line manager before making any personal plans. The more traditional 9-5, 5 days a week schedule, doesn’t work for a lot of employees and candidates anymore, so being able to provide this way of working can allow companies to find and retain talent. 

All employees are eligible to apply for flexible working hours. E.g. If the typical day is 9-5, you can request to have 8-4 shifts etc. It all depends on your preferences. You still get the work done, just at a better time for you. So, does this sound like something you’d like to learn more about?

How could flexible working, work for you?

The more stereotypical way of working comes with time restraints. You are expected to be in the workplace or ‘online’ between a certain period of time for a specific number of hours every day. Everyone is working to different schedules, so why should we conform to these standards? Especially when there is plenty of technology that allows us to work on our own time. 

Typically, most businesses will offer a 9-5 working structure, it’s just a common standard. Some companies will have different structures but this is the typical time most people see and work to. However, when you start to break it down, these 8 hour days slowly become much more. Your working hours, don’t include the commute to and from work. This doesn’t include rush hour, traffic, school pick-ups etc. There are a number of different situations you may find yourself in on a typical weekday. Going to work becomes much more than just the hours you spend there. It can be mentally and physically draining to work on a repeat. Especially when so many external factors can contribute to less and less personal time outside of work. 

This is where flexible working comes in. Being able to find common ground with your employer and understand how you can give them your best work possible. This could mean starting a little bit later to miss the morning rush, it could mean finishing earlier to be able to make the school run. Whatever it is, having your employer allow you to work flexibly around the commitments you already have, allows you to focus a little more on you, as well as work. 

However, commuting is not the only reason people chose to work flexibly or remotely. Both male and female employees with children may need to be home earlier some days to pick their children up after school, or they may need days working from home when child care falls through. Carers may need to spend more time with their family and some people just don’t want to be restricted to the typical restraints that may come with a 9-5 job. What ever the reason, if it is valid to you then it should also matter to your employer. Flexible working is there to help you with your every day life, employers are starting to realise that people may have things that get in the way and having a flexible working scheme in order, allows both the employer and employee to prepare for this. It also opens doors to people that may be studying part-time or a range of people that may have not had the opportunity to work full time before. Flexible working can allow working for everyone to be that little bit easier – and increase productivity.

Working flexibly can give you the balance you’re looking for

Your job and career may be a very important aspect in your life, but you need to make sure it works around the commitments you already have. You should never have to compromise on the important things to be able to make a 9am job. This isn’t something that’s available to everyone and not everyone has the same opportunities, but if it’s something you can achieve with your employer, it can make a huge difference. 

It’s simple, you don’t want to be missing out on important parts of your personal life, if you spend too much time working and away from the things you want to do, it can lead to resentment of your job. Having the right balance can allow you to flourish in your role. Sometimes long hours in the work place can mean you may not have the time or energy to do the other things you may have on your agenda. If the 9-5 doesn’t work for you and it’s not allowing you to do everything you wish, ask to make a change. You are entitled to it, so it is worth the try. Some people like to have the option for flexible hours and some people love to be in the office during the stereotypical hours. It’s all down to preference. But it’s always nice to have the option there for when you may need it.

What options do you have?

As mentioned above, flexible working isn’t just a one-size fits all situation. It’s not simply having the opportunity to work from home. Flexible working is about working with your employer to find a way of working that suits you and is flexible around your life. You may be someone that only has the capacity to work part-time, so how about asking or searching for a job share position? You may have a very heavy commute and would like to permanently work remotely. Or even struggle to find childcare in the evenings and need to start and finish work a bit earlier. Whatever your situation, there could be a solution. 

Of course, this is all at discretion of your employer and you need to discuss this with them before making any plans. You are entitled to ask for flexible working arrangements but they are in no way obligated to grant them. This is something to consider when job searching, applying for internal roles or even having yearly reviews with your manager. If it’s important to you, you have a right to discuss it. This change could really help you find what you’re looking for. 

How does flexible working aid employers?

Many businesses are making is easier for employees to apply for flexible working hours. Again, you are entitled to requesting this, but they may not make it obvious or talk about it when discussing reward packages. You can bring it up in interviews as well, let them know what kind of working hours you’re looking for and if they can help you. Businesses often understand that different people have different restraints within their personal life and in the long run, flexible working helps both the employee and the business. This way, you know what is coming. You know what days people are leaving early or working from home, you take away the mystery and can create a good and well-structured work place for everyone. It’s been shown that companies that offer flexible working, have more productive employees. Some business may be worried that it will affect the employees work flow, but sometimes it can motivate them to work harder. It also takes a lot of trust from the employer, to trust that when employees are working remotely, they are doing their work to the best standard they possibly can. Employees often know they are trusted and can do their work with ease and high motivation. Flexible working is here to stay.

Flexible working hours is offering people more of an opportunity to have the career they want. Some people feel that 9-5 hours aren’t for them or just isn’t doable. So, when they are offered hours that suit both them and the business, more opportunities become available. Businesses are really starting to see the positive effects that this has on people, so if you feel like this is for you, apply for it. Everyone is eligible to apply, and depending on your situation, it could help you out greatly. So, speak to your line manager and finally get what suits you best. It will only help your career develop even further.