Flexible working: do it for a broader talent pool
Traditional work hours in many industries were born out of patriarchal times when those in leadership roles had a clear distinction between work and home life. This Forbes article examines how we can take another perspective on the issue and the structural inequities built into the workplace, work day and work lives of all staff.
- Workplaces were designed with the expectation that it works separately to home life and beyond the usual workplace hours of 9am to 5pm.
- Two European trade unions are proposing an initiative that would rebalance the equation by reducing trading hours to 9am to 3.30pm.
- Change has occurred around the fringes of the workplace for decades, however take up of these changes has come with the fear of missing out on key information and career growth.
- Flexibility needs to become the norm for everyone, not the exception. A greater work-life balance would increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover rates and increase productivity.
I imagine many of you would love a 9am to 3.30pm workday, but in reality, you're wondering how it could actually work. Especially with an increasing volume of email coming through outside of the ‘regular’ 9 to 5 working day.
We need to make thinking about the possibility of shorter workdays the norm. It’s key in promoting flexibility across workplaces.
It’s one thing to have policies in place and to talk about its importance but it’s another to practice it, promote it and embed it into your culture.
To make flexibility the norm, as leaders, it is our responsibility to lead by example. We cannot escape quietly to go to a child’s dance concert or to a doctor’s appointment with a sick parent out of guilt or fear of being called out or judged. We need to own the personal responsibilities we have, talk about them and encourage our teams to do the same.
Beyond allowing flexible working days, having the technology in place to allow employees to work from home, or from anywhere, goes a long way in promoting flexibility.
The article highlighted some excellent benefits of flexible workplaces, and I couldn’t agree more. If your whole life is work, you can often get consumed with targets and meetings and lose focus on family, friends and community.
Yet, focus in these areas is critical to building resilience. And resilience is the key to being able to pull ourselves out of negative thinking, take action and become more productive.
As the article stated, resilience increases productivity.
By promoting flexible workplaces, we are also able to welcome a wider pool of talent into our industry – parents with young children, people with carers duties, people with disabilities. Flexible workplaces ensure we don’t lose top talent just because their personal circumstances may change.
It starts from the top, so as leaders let's lead by example and encourage flexible working across our industry.