Hot desking, flex-days, job sharing – these are just some of the words that come to mind when we think about a flexible workplace. In recent years we’ve seen a huge shift in the value that employees are placing on flexibility. Gone are the days where employees work a 9 – 5 job, Monday to Friday.
There’s no doubt that flexible work is becoming the new norm and companies need to learn to embrace these changes. Numerous larger corporations have started to offer it, with improved parental leave programs, flexible hours to suit domestic needs and days where you can work from home or multiple other locations. But where do small businesses fit into all this? How can companies with only 4 or 5 employees, run and still afford to have people that only work flexibly?
Technology has meant we can now be contacted all day, every day, regardless of where you are in the world. Work follows us home and subsequently employees very rarely work just the maximum 40-hour week. People are being becoming burnt out, overworked and are finding themselves unhappy. So, it’s not unsurprising that employees have now started pushing back and have decided that if they are expected to be on call all day every day, they are at least doing it on their own terms. People have started to look for companies that let them shape their job to suit their lifestyle, re-defining the definition of work life balance.
So what does this mean for companies?
Let’s harness the power of technology and the gig economy!
For small businesses, flexibility provides a huge array of opportunities. For starters, it increases their hiring potential by allowing them to attract a wider variety of talent. With many new parents, as well as the younger generation, choosing to prioritise flexibility over pay, companies that offer these benefits will be able to hire individuals that are highly skilled but unable, or not wanting to, to commit to a full-time role. It also means that companies that are willing to hire remote workers, can look beyond the local talent pool and seek high quality professionals from across the globe.
On top of this companies can leverage the benefits of the gig economy. Rather than asking a full-time employee to do a task that they don’t have the skills or expertise in, companies can utilise contractors and the gig economy to outsource all their extra tasks. This not only means that companies have a more agile workforce, allowing them to scale up and down according to demand, but companies can take advantage of a highly skilled worker who can work on the task without needing extra training.
By having a flexible workforce, small businesses can save a lot of money. If everybody in the company works remotely, businesses don’t need to pay for an office space. Or the stationery, electricity and resources that are required to go with it. Likewise, if all the employees are part time, companies can benefit by renting smaller spaces or leasing it out on the days that it is unused.
Overall the benefits of flexibility for employees can not be underestimated. Studies have shown that flexibility improve employee morale, reduces turnover and increases productivity. Employees are far more satisfied at work and are therefore willing to stay for longer within the company. It also means that individuals are more likely to put in time outside of their ordinary hours because they actually enjoy their jobs, with people claiming that they are more willing to respond to work emails and phone calls despite being on vacation.
The A Human Agency Story
A Human Agency is a small business that has been operating since 2015. Located in a shared office space, we are made up of 1 owner and 4 part time staff, as well as a dedicated team of consultants. Working flexibility is something that was built into the core of our foundation and has worked very positively for our company. We work as HR consultants, as well as working as an outsourced HR team to other companies, making us members of the gig economy. It is through this economy that we have been able to work with numerous corporations and create a network within the gig economy to source and outsource our projects to.
Is your small company looking to outsource their HR? Join our network, reach out and get in touch!