The summer holidays are known to many as a time when flexible working conditions come into its own, especially for working parents however, recent research from global workspace provider Regus reveals that it may play a fundamental role in long-term happiness in the workplace.
According to the poll of nearly 2,200 business owners and senior managers, nine out of ten report that offering flexible working options – including flexi-location as well as flexi-hours – provide a highly effective way of improving staff morale and helping them to achieve a better work-life balance.
Compared to similar studies undertaken just one year ago, the new research points to an increasing appreciation of the wider benefits of flexible working. For instance, 81 per cent of respondents now identify flexible working as a way to improve business productivity, compared to last year’s survey figure of 74 per cent.
Almost seven out of ten (67 per cent) also regard flexible working as a way of saving money, saying that it is lower cost than traditional fixed-office working, and almost half (49 per cent) of respondents believe that flexible working gives businesses significant competitive advantage.
In terms of benefits to recruitment, seven in ten (68 per cent) emphasised that flexi-work is increasingly demanded by prospective employees. This is in line with previous research which found that three quarters of staff would choose one job over another similar one if it offered flexible working.
John Spencer, UK CEO at Regus commented:
“The recent regulatory changes give all staff the legal right to request flexible working, and the results of our latest research serve as a timely reminder of the wide-ranging benefits of this modern approach to work. Having a choice in where, when and how we work makes a huge difference to our overall happiness; it helps us cut down on the stress of a long commute, frees up time to cook and eat healthily, or simply helps us get home earlier.
“However, it is important that employers embrace the multi-location workplace, not just flexi-hours. And this doesn’t just mean offering home-working. Most people prefer a more professional, dynamic environment that is closer to home (but crucially not at home), such as a local business centre or a ‘third place’ work location.”
Regus has estimated that companies can save up to 60 per cent on their property costs if they move to a flexible workspace model and is pioneering the development of ‘third place’ business centres at unconventional locations such as motorway service areas, petrol stations and retail parks, aiming to help people make flexible work more productive.