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Should flexible working be a part of business strategy?

Nov 09
Tags: UK: London
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Should flexible working be a part of business...

Companies setting out their business strategy should be very aware that they are only as good as the people who work for them, but there are many ways in which the strategy can encompass means of getting people to fulfil their performance potential.

Of course, this will include factors like pay and rewards, as well as training, while flexible working is another element that can be built into a business plan.

The potential benefits were borne out by a study carried out for workspace provider Regus.

It had timed its study to coincide with National Stress Awareness Day, emphasising the notion that the mental wellbeing of staff - a growing issue at a time when the stigma of mental illness is being eroded and problems are being more readily recognised - is a contributory factor to their overall performance. 

The survey showed many people who do work flexibly gain considerable benefits from this. Of the 1,700 professionals interviewed, half said this helped improve work-life balance. Some 59 per cent said they were more productive, 41 per cent said it enabled them to eat more healthily and 43 per cent attributed better sleep to having flexible hours. 

Chief executive of Regus Richard Morris said the implications are clear. He remarked: "National Stress Awareness Day serves as the perfect reminder to employers that stress management and employee wellbeing should be a proactive and planned element of business strategy. 

"How - and crucially, where - people work is understood to have a significant bearing on workplace wellbeing so the flexible working conversation should play a part in every modern business’s strategy."

All this suggests that flexible working can indeed be an effective part of a business strategy. Of course, it is important not to create situations where a firm may be under-manned at crucial times and it may be a little forward planning may be needed. 

In an age when people live increasingly busy lifestyles and where the emphasis on 'work-life balance' has never been more of a consideration, firms may benefit substantially from making the effort to allow flexibility in their business plans.

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Image: iStock/Halfpoint

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