A secure, office-based, nine-to-five job was once considered to be the best working position to be in, and for many, the ultimate or only goal. However, today millennials, gen Z and baby boomers are turning these offers down and instead joining the flexible workforce in masses. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), 4.8 million people are self-employed in the UK, and in 2017, freelancers contributed £271bn to the economy, up from £119bn in 2016, and experts predict that this number will continue to grow. This phenomenon clearly shows no signs of slowing down which is why employers need to plan for workplace flexibility now.
Why is the flexible workforce growing?
The world of work is evolving. We now have innovative technology to help us make our jobs more efficient and the latest artificial intelligence to help us with laborious tasks, so why are we still using the nine-to-five work model which dates back to the late 19th century? This is a question that employees are asking themselves, and many have realised that following this system is, in fact, not always necessary.
Digital technology enables remote working
We all know that there is technology and automation available to make jobs in every profession easier. There is also technology out there to help create virtual offices or host round-the-clock team meetings too. Thanks to cloud-based interfaces and real-time mobile apps, people can be brought together and collaborate seamlessly regardless of where they are. Businesses have noticed that having employees under one roof does not impact work being done, and all people really need is their laptop loaded with the key software and internet access.
An appetite for work-life balance
The term ‘work-life balance’ has been gaining popularity and importance over the last few years, and with an increasing amount of people aware of the significance of mental health, a positive relationship with working is now taking priority. More and more employees are expressing that they want their jobs to revolve around their lives and not the other way around.
Growth of the gig economy
Technology combined with the freedom to work flexibly has given birth to the phenomenal gig-economy. This system allows professionals to take on temporary or short-term contracts as and when they wish. With more businesses acknowledging this way of working and embracing it, there are even more opportunities available.
Why do employers need workplace flexibility and what are the benefits?
Embracing the rise of the flexible workforce and adapting your business to meet its needs can, in fact, significantly improve performance and productivity. According to a recent study by EY and Timewise, 87% of full-time employees in the UK either work flexibly or would prefer to. So why not give your people what they want?
By listening to your employees and giving them what they wish for, you will undoubtedly make them feel more valued and happier at work, and according to a recent study by economists at the University of Warwick, happiness leads to a 12% spike in productivity.
The positive effect that flexibility has on outputs has been shown in countless pieces of research. For example, a study by Vodafone found that 54% of employees said that working flexibly makes them more productive. Additionally, three-in-four workers even said that this boosted their job satisfaction.
And a recent poll by the Association of Accounting Technicians, found that employees who are offered the option of flexible working are taking less leave.
For many people, like parents, carers and disabled workers, flexibility is not a desire but a necessity. By having non-traditional working options available, you are able to increase your talent pool and diversity by appealing to a wider range of people. This will inevitably boost your employer brand and help you attract more valuable skills.
Embracing flexibility allows you to bring in niche skills that would be hard to secure on a full time or permanent basis. Several the leading professionals in niche roles within industries such as IT and tech are turning to non-permanent work. Many are doing this because they know that their talents are highly sought after and, in many circumstances, better remunerated in flexible positions.
Encourage flexibility with an internal talent acquisition team
To create and manage a flexible workforce effectively, you need an agile approach to hiring. That’s why we recommend that you have an internal talent acquisition team to handle your recruitment processes. An in-house team is best placed to make key decisions and fit roles around people, rather than vice versa to secure top talent. Because internal recruiters have a helicopter view of the company, they can map talent and see the bigger picture of where flexible positions are suitable. This allows for a more streamlined process, and ease of communication with key decision makers.
For more information on how to manage and create your own flexible workforce through an internal talent acquisition team, get in touch today.