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How flexible working supports employee wellbeing

Flexible working has been shown to improve employee engagement and wellbeing, in a variety of ways. So employers who care about their staff, and want to get the best from them, need to take it seriously.

employee wellbeing apple imageThe impact of flexible working on employee wellbeing, engagement and productivity is impossible to ignore. Here’s how offering flexibility will help you get the best from your team.

Improved mental and physical wellbeing

Quite rightly, more and more organisations are focusing on improving employee wellbeing. Flexible working can support this in a number of ways:

  • Having a positive work-life balance makes life less stressful and can reduce illness
  • Reducing the commute by working from home frees up time, energy and headspace
  • Being able to work when, where and how they want increases employees’ sense of control
  • Freeing up time for exercise can support physical wellness and stamina

Support with other responsibilities

For parents of small children, and sons or daughters looking after an elderly relative, being able to flex around medical appointments, school runs and other logistical issues makes being a carer easier to manage.

Career development and job satisfaction

When senior level flexible roles are made available, people who need to work flexibly are able to progress their careers, making best use of their skills and improving their job satisfaction.

Enhanced concentration and productivity

In a Cranfield University[1] survey of flexible workers, 97% of managers said their quantity of work improved or stayed the same and 93% said their quality of the work improved or stayed the same. Achieving more within a flexible framework is likely to lead to increased job satisfaction.

Improved motivation and happiness at work

All of the above make it more likely that flexible workers will be more motivated and happier. According to Dr Mark Winwood, a clinical director of psychological services, “The more control any of us feel we have over our working lives, the better we feel about work.”

It’s for all of these reasons that the demand for flexibility is at an all-time high. Our own research has indicated that 87% of employees either work flexibly already, or wish they could. And according to a survey by the Centre for the Modern Family, 23% of UK workers would be willing to take a pay cut in order to have more flexible working hours.

So if you want to recruit and retain healthy, motivated and productive employees, focus on flexibility.

[1] Cranfield University/Working Families 2008: “Flexible Working and Performance”