Flexible working used to be something that only Mums requested after maternity leave. They were usually turned down. And they were respected less for having the gumption to ask for it: A death knell in the corporate world, as it were. Now, employers are fast cottoning on to the massive benefits for their organisations. At Evenbreak our entire team works flexibly.
Here are just 3 of the reasons why:
Building an inclusive, diverse workforce
The Evenbreak team is very diverse. Our ages range from 16 to 60. We are multicultural and gender diverse. We come from a wide range of backgrounds, bringing different work (and life) experience to the team. These differences are our strengths. We are all disabled people. But, our health conditions and disabilities don’t prevent us from working. We work flexibly. One of our team can only work in short bursts of 20 minutes. So, they do. Another prefers to work late at night. They can. We work to our strengths. The Evenbreak recruitment process itself was also flexible and candidate led. This meant it attracted a diverse range of applicants for Founder Jane Hatton, to choose from. You can read more about the recruitment process here. This diversity means the team has an eclectic mix of skills, talent and varied viewpoints. Diversity also brings financial rewards. In 2015, McKinsey consultants studied over 350 companies in the UK, North America and Latin America. They found that:
“Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
Gender diversity brings similar rewards: “Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” Diversity brings rewards of immense value to any organisation.
Attracting and retaining talent
A traditional work pattern of turning up at a workplace from 9.00am to 5.00pm five days a week doesn’t suit everyone. In truth, it doesn’t suit most people. Travelling in the rush hour isn’t a particularly joyful activity for most. And people prefer to work flexibly for a variety of reasons. Employers are familiar with the requirements of parents. The need to accommodate school timings and school holidays is obvious. But what about carers? Or those who study alongside work? Or those who simply want to work smart? And for many disabled people or those with long-term health conditions, the 9 – 5 office job just doesn’t make sense.
Many employers only offer traditional working hours and patterns. They are seriously limiting their recruitment talent pool. In doing this you fail to attract many of the people mentioned above, who may be the perfect fit for your company. And the best person for the job. Our entire team works flexibly. This increases productivity, motivation, retention and wellbeing. It’s very likely that none of the team would have applied if this flexibility hadn’t been on offer.
Productivity and business costs
From a financial perspective, employees who work remotely save the company money. There’s no need to provide office space with all the consequent costs. Employees that don’t have to struggle through rush hour traffic (before even starting work) are likely to be fresh and more productive. Remote working, travelling at quieter times of the day and working fewer hours, all help to reduce workplace stress. This, in turn, reduces absenteeism and increases productivity. According to research by Canada Life Group Insurance, 77% of employees felt flexible working aided productivity.
Flexible working not only makes the world of work better for employees but helps improve business too. What’s not to like?
Written by Jane Hatton and Cassandra Leese
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