Will flexible working become the norm?
What is flexible working?
By definition, flexible working offers employees increased freedom –working from where they choose, flexible work schedules and fitting work around other responsibilities. Whilst flexible working has been increasingly adopted by companies over the years, it’s been accelerated since the start of the pandemic.
Research on the UK Government website shows that 9 out of 10 job seekers want increased flexibility, be it remote working (60%), flexitime (54%) or reduced hours (26%).
In March 2021, the Minister for Women and Equalities, called for flexible working to be “normalised” as part of the UK economy’s Covid-19 recovery, to capitalise on the shift in mindset triggered by the pandemic. Ministers are now preparing to make flexible working a permanent feature of British life post-pandemic, with plans to strengthen employees’ rights to work from home or ask for different hours.
Benefits of Flexible Working
Increase in Job Applications – UK Government-backed Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and jobs website Indeed, shows offering flexible working explicitly in job adverts increases applications by up to 30%. The research, which analysed nearly 20 million applications and is the largest of its kind ever conducted in the UK, shows greater transparency in job adverts would create at least 174,000 flexible jobs to the UK economy per year.
Best of Both Worlds – Flexible working offers the freedom of working from home but access to the community of the office to drive increased collaboration. According to a recent survey of 2000 UK workers by Currys PC World and Canon, 37% identified a better work-life balance as one of the main benefits of remote working, with 54% citing not having to commute as their favourite part.
Increased Opportunities for Equality – According to the minister for women and equalities, “flexible working could help boost job opportunities for women (who are more likely to have to disrupt their careers as a result of caregiving duties) and reduce geographical inequality.”
Spreading the commuter coin – Whilst city-based businesses are reliant on the influx of commuters to city centres across the world, there has been a re-balancing of revenues, with more local businesses benefiting from the shift of working patterns. Over time, with a return to a combination of part office, part home working, it’s encouraging to see this wealth being spread across businesses both in city locations and in local communities.
Is flexible working here to stay?
It depends on many factors – there are many predictions that flexible working is here to stay but on the flip-side, the Centre for Cities think tank predicts the five-day office week will become the norm again within two years as featured in a BBC News article in June 2021.
Ultimately, it will be driven by individual businesses and employee’s wishes, and won’t be a one size fits all approach.
Sector Specific – A flexible working environment naturally suits some sectors more than others. For hospitality, the pandemic was a catalyst to introducing more flexible working practices which improved work-life balance. As the business of hospitality re-opens, naturally many roles are guest-facing so require employees to be present in their place of work
Hospitality, like many sectors, are aware of the importance of their employees’ wellbeing and its impact on performance and productivity, so have been adjusting their return to work policies to introduce a variety of measures to create a better work-life balance for their teams. Hybrid working for those working in non-customer facing roles and a four day week have been some of those policies being trialled currently.
Re-imagining of the Office – With changing working patterns evolving and a move to increased hybrid working, the office space will need to be used differently. More collaborative space, places where people can come together and create and innovate and a revised layout of desks are all some of the practical changes that businesses are adopting as they look to navigate the road back to the office.
At FM Recruitment, we work with clients across all areas of hospitality and associated industries to navigate flexible working. We work alongside our clients to showcase their company’s approach to work-life balance and its employee wellbeing focus to find the best candidate for the role.
We are specialists in financial recruitment at all levels in the UK and internationally. We belong to the Hospitality People Group who offer a wide variety of roles from c-suite level and everything in between. For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:
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