Part time jobs and flexible working options are here to stay. Revolutionary progress in communication and information technology have changed the way businesses operate allowing for flexible working solutions.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a monumental shift in the way people live. With the UK’s ageing population, skyrocketing childcare costs and people’s need to have a work-life balance, employers must embrace a ‘new workforce’; one in which a large number of skilled and desirable employees are no longer able to work traditional full-time hours.

A large proportion of the UK’s labour force will have their working lives affected or interrupted by their caring responsibilities. Today, there are about seven million (that’s 1 in 10 people) carers in the UK and this number is only set to increase. These employees will seek out firms and businesses who offer family-friendly, flexible working opportunities to fit around their caring and domestic duties.

From an employer’s perspective, the ability to offer flexible solutions is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity in our changing society and a way to attract and retain the best employees.

At Working for Carers, we not only work closely with carers, getting them job-ready, but have built relationships with several local businesses and large businesses such as John Lewis, where they have been able to employ carers through part time and flexible working solutions. More importantly, they have seen the benefits of offering part-time and flexible opportunities on business productivity.

If you are an employer, especially if you are small business, you need to be able to see a positive cost-benefit of flexible working amongst your employees otherwise it won’t work for your business. We spoke to some of the employers we’ve partnered and asked them to share their thoughts on how they’ve benefitted by offering flexible working to their employees. This is what they had to say:

  • Offering flexible working, opens up a much wider pool of talent to choose from, allowing you to recruit people that really suit your requirements.
  • Increased employee morale, engagement and commitment. Employees who are not stressed about managing and balancing their other commitments demonstrate higher levels of happiness at their jobs and show greater levels of commitment and engagement. It allows employees to focus on their jobs during the hours they are committed to their jobs and then switch off to look after other responsibilities when they are off-the-clock.
  • Reduced absenteeism. This is a massive cost-saving for you as an employer. Employees who are have flexibility in their work hours schedule their ‘other’ commitments around their work commitments as they are given the time to do so. This greatly reduces employees not turning up to work.
  • With flexible working options, many of the employers have noticed a sharp decrease in staff turnover, reducing recruiting and training costs at regular intervals. Employees who feel they are being looked after and are able to both work and manage their caring or other duties, are unlikely to leave the company.
  • Companies that offer job share options or remote working are often able to cut overheads through desk sharing or working from home. We’ve worked with employers who have saved costs on opting for a smaller office space as some of their employees do a job share, requiring only one desk and one computer for those roles, yet gaining the skills of two people per job.
  • As an employer, you will be able to offer extended service hours, reducing the need for overtime with employees working at different times in the day.
  • Working hours can be matched with peaks and troughs of business to maximise productivity.
  • One of the key benefits, employers have stated is the improvement in diversity in workforce. Part time or flexible working allows for a broader mix of skills, knowledge and experience giving you, as an employer, the opportunity to be more creative in your recruitment approach.
  • It will make your company more attractive to potential employees giving you the pick of the best talent.

As an employer, whilst it’s important, almost mandatory today to offer flexible working options, you must have a clear, coordinated and widely understood process in place for it work. Working practises, schedules, timesheets and expectations must be outlined and set in place at the start of a contract and communicated with managers and employees alike. The larger the organisation, the more complicated it is and it would be good practices to have a dedicated HR staff member project managing it. If you are a small business, whilst not as complicated, you would still need someone coordinating and managing the process.

The bottom line is that if you are an employer, a well-planned and efficiently implemented flexible working system for your employees, will have not only a positive impact on your employees, but on your business’ productivity and output as well.