Approximately one in five employees lack access to flexible working arrangements, according to a Ministry of Social Development (MSD) survey.
At Strategic Pay, we think flexible work policies are important both for employee satisfaction and long-term business success. Here's what you need to know.
What are flexible work policies?
Put simply, they are anything that allows staff to vary their work schedule. Allowing employees to alter their start and finish times is one of the most frequently used policies, as are work from home arrangements. While this is difficult for employees who can only do their work in the office because their job requires special equipment, there are ways around this. Having some sort of call-in or Skype arrangement is a good way to make working from home easier.
Other frequently used flexible work policies include buyable leave. This is where you can ask for an extended period of leave in return for a reduction in salary, allowing staff to go traveling. Additionally, providing childcare is useful for those employees who have families, but is often something out of reach for smaller organisations. Instead, try producing a list of local childcare centres that are close to the office, especially those already used by current employees. This will make it a lot easier for new parents and staff, who won't have to spend their own time searching for suitable arrangements.
What are the benefits of flexible work policies?
1. Happier staff and increased productivity - employees who have a more positive attitude at work are much more likely to contribute to productivity. Of those who reported greater flexibility at work in the MSD survey, 88 per cent said they were satisfied with their work-life balance. Meanwhile, the figure was only 52 per cent for those who reported little or no flexibility.
2. Wider recruitment pool - if you offer flexible work policies, you are increasing the number of people who can work for you - for example, those with small children or other commitments. This means more options when recruiting.
3. Keep your existing staff - you will reduce staff turnover if you allow employees to vary their schedule. Not only will they wish to stay because of their healthier work-life balance, new circumstances such as a family member becoming ill or a new child will no longer be a barrier to working at your organisation.
4. Reduced absenteeism and sick leave - staff will instead be able to take the time off as part of your flexible work policy.
5. Better reputation - this is an often overlooked advantage. However, if your staff are praising your company, this will spread to the wider community and people will have a more positive outlook towards your organisation.