Increased staff retention is the biggest benefit of flexible working, our poll finds

The Governance Institute and recruitment specialist The Core Partnership reveals that 92% of organisations surveyed offer flexible working arrangements with staff retention considered as the greatest upside. The majority (76%) of respondents stated that their organisations offer a combination of remote working, flexi-time, part-time working and job sharing. Just 12% offer remote working only and a mere 5% only offer part-time work.

In terms of the benefits companies have seen from offering flexible working, 73% of respondents pointed to a combination of increased staff retention, flexible working, greater diversity, improved talent acquisition and increased productivity, with increased staff retention cited by the greatest number of respondents as the biggest benefit. Just 3% of respondents said that their company had seen no benefit in offering flexible working arrangements.

One supporter of flexible working arrangements noted that ‘Our informal flexible working arrangements have led to greater employee engagement and empowerment, greater inclusiveness and increased productivity’. When questioned as to the possible drawbacks, responses included the following:

• Building and maintaining team ethos and values. Balancing individual requirements can be challenging.
• Loss of social interaction
• There is still a perception that part-time means less dedicated
• Additional complexity when ensuring adequate coverage. Impact when combining some elements with annual leave
• Need for increased security, policy frameworks and monitoring
• Inconsistency of application.

According to Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA: ‘Flexible working arrangements are overwhelmingly the norm, but responses have shown this benefit can be inconsistently applied within some organisations, with different business areas or line managers having differing views about such arrangements. This is a pity as it is clear from the responses that the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. As long as there is mutual trust and respect between employer and employee, robust IT systems that support remote working and staff training in cyber security, there is no reason why productivity should suffer. Time saved on a commute can be more usefully expended elsewhere.’

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