Are Flexible Schedules A Fair Working Policy, After All?

Being able to offer members of staff flexible working arrangements is a huge perk of the job and can certainly help your brand attract and retain the top talent in your field. People really do appreciate being able to fit their work in around their lives and being able to strike a healthy work-life balance can make a real difference to people’s sense of health and wellbeing.

But as a company you do need to make sure that your employees aren’t working more than they’re contractually obliged to and that everyone working flexible hours is putting in the same amount of time and effort… no one should be doing unpaid overtime, after all.

New research from the University of Kent has just revealed, however, that in the UK men work on average an additional 2.2 hours a week in unpaid overtime, while women work around 1.9 hours extra.

The study evaluated three types of flexible working arrangements to see what impact it had on their workloads – flexitime (with set weekly hours that can be worked into a suitable schedule), teleworking (working from home for personal reasons regularly) and schedule control (where people can determine their own hours and schedules as long as the work is completed).

Employees working on a schedule control basis were found to do more unpaid overtime – for men about an hour more a week on average and about 40 minutes more a week on average for women without children.

While full-time working mothers didn’t seem to increase their unpaid overtime, mothers working part-time did more unpaid overtime, with an average of about 20 minutes more each week.

“More control over your work is supposed to make life easier for workers, particularly those with children. However, it is clear that for many, blurring the boundaries between work and home life expands work to be longer, even when it is unpaid. Employers need to be aware of this and ensure staff are not over-stretching themselves and undoing the benefits of flexible working,” the university’s Dr Heejung Chung said.

What are the benefits of flexible working?

- Increased feeling of personal control over working lives for members of staff

- Reduced turnover of valued employees

- Flexibility for your team to meet family and personal needs more effectively

- Reduced commuting time

- Increased employee morale

- A drop in absenteeism

The key to operating a successful flexible working policy at your place of business is making sure that the schedules support staff retention and engagement, but also that they fit in well with the needs of the company as well.

The advantages of this kind of working arrangement do tend to outweigh the disadvantages and it’s important to remember that people are becoming increasingly attracted to this way of working… so now might be the time to start considering making it a policy at your company, in the right way of course!

For help with HR management in Cheltenham for your expanding business, get in touch with us today.

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