Published: 3 Nov 2021
When the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world in spring 2020, businesses were faced with more than one novel dilemma. When the choice came down to employees being based outside the office or shutting down your business, most companies had to find new ways for their staff to keep working.
Less rigid employment styles have been growing over the years, so the sudden change to more flexible working patterns was easier for some employers. For example, in industries such as IT, more versatile working styles have long been the norm. For others, this shift was problematic because they were completely tied into the standard office structure and had no established policies, rules or procedures to cope with getting work done anywhere but in a standard team of people all collected in one office.
Whether your business is strictly traditional or modern and adaptable, by now most companies will have at least some of their workforce regularly employed outside the typical office of three years ago. According to Statistica, the number of people working from home rose by 1.69 million in 2020; and as of June 2021, 44% of employees between the ages of 30 and 49 are now working from home on a full-time basis. It looks like that's not going to change anytime soon. The Office for National Statistics has found that only 37% of businesses who are still trading through the pandemic expect their workforce to return to their normal place of work within three months.
Research has shown that flexible working has broad advantages for workers. Some of those benefits are as follows:
The benefits to employees of more fluid styles of working are clear. What might be surprising, though, is that these positives are more than mirrored for employers. Companies enjoy a long list of beneficial effects of a looser corporate structure, of which these are just a few:
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Work flexibility is a generic expression, but a definition for what it means in practice is an adjustable or fluid style of employment in terms of how, when, where, or for how long a person works.
You can have people working long hours, but fewer days each week, or fewer hours overall. Perhaps you have people who work entirely remotely and you only ever see them online, or maybe some individuals have a hybrid working pattern of some time in the office and some time out.
For a startup or small business especially, one of the most useful features of flexible working is the ability to hire casual staff who are experts in their field. You might not need them full-time or long-term, but you're able to hire highly-skilled people on an ad hoc basis. Staffing your business this way not only means you can hire the best, but it's also cost-effective because you only have to pay for the work without any of the overheads you get with contracted full-time or part-time staff.
You can hire a freelancer to do this one-off type of work for you, or alternatively use the services like extrahand.io who will provide pre-vetted experts to fulfil all your support staff needs. Whether you're looking for content writing, editing of text, photos or videos, website development, personal assistance or even marketing campaigns, you can hire the best person for the job, and only that job. What's more, there's no risk because their work is already tried and tested for you.
As more people head back to into their new permanent ways of working, one thing is clear; the universal traditional office as we knew it is gone for ever. With all the alternative options available, that's good news for workers and good news for you.