With 87% of all full-time employees either working flexibly already or wanting to and 40% stating they would choose flexible working over a pay-rise*, having a flexible approach to recruitment and working certainly makes business sense. But how easy is it to implement and does it really benefit both employer and employee?

A series of recent roundtable discussions involving over 25 Sussex, Surrey and South London based businesses revealed that, with the right application, the rewards of a flexible workforce can far outweigh any perceived challenges. Collaboration regarding ‘what’s worked’ and ‘ways to overcome challenges’ has resulted in a 10-point best practice blueprint to successful implementation of flexible working. It makes interesting reading for any business ready to make this vital cultural change.

Alison Prangnell, a Hassocks local, tells us how since she became a full-time flexible worker, she started to enjoy not just her work but also her life!

Alison worked in senior management roles for technology and cyber security businesses around the South East for several years. All traditional 9-5, highly pressured, full-time roles. Feeling generally un-satisfied with not only her work, but also her life, she finally experienced burnout. The burnout, caused by excessive and prolonged stress, made her very ill. On her journey to heal herself she discovered that helping others who were suffering too provided her with that missing value.

Alison now works 25 hours per week remotely as Head of Marketing for Workhorse and the rest of her time as a freelance Stress Management Consultant at her own business, Anderida Coaching. Spending her time flexibly, switching between streams of work that both interest her and provide value, means that she now enjoys her life.

Alison says “At Workhorse, I’m contracted on results. I also have another job – to help employees understand how to manage stress effectively for their health, happiness and work/life balance, so that they don’t find themselves at burnout.  This is my passion job.  My flexible working arrangement at Workhorse means I am also able to pursue this dream”.

One of the key flexible working implementation challenges for businesses, cited in the roundtable discussion groups, was tackling tech and communication at all team levels. Alison agrees that Workhorse owner, Alastair Badman, who employs all his staff to work remotely, needs to be on top of what everyone is doing from wherever they are. Having a clear strategy when it comes to communication is therefore essential, and she says, ‘the trust’ is what’s making it work so well.

Alison points out that, particularly for a small business, within teams, the challenge to recruit well when reliant only on the talent immediately local to you is restrictive. Candidates can often not be completely right for a position, yet it must be filled. Widening the talent search by making the job remote increases the chance of getting the right candidate. Also, the benefits of cloud-based IT systems and communication portals such as Zoom, that are standard in most businesses now, allow for a remote infrastructure in any business.

Alison, who now thrives on the variety and autonomy she has due to her flexible approach to work summarises: “True flexible working, (not just nodding at it by offering a gym pass and the opportunity to come in one hour later) has had a massive impact on how I perceive work. Knowing I can get up and have a different shape of a day each day and still get everything done, has made me happier and more engaged. Every business should do it!”

The full ‘10-point Best Practice Guide’ to implementing Flexible Working, can be obtained from Flexible Recruitment specialists, Flexibility Matters by contacting Emma on 0781 0541 599.

*Source:  Timewise Flexible Job Index

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