Flexible working boosts productivity

Tuesday 16 February 2016

New research has found that flexible working can help promote better productivity and boost profits in the process.

Often cited as one of the main reasons for setting up on your own, many people are drawn to the benefits of becoming self-employed as it enables you to work within your own schedule, and without the pressure of someone looking over your shoulder.

However, the positive impact of being able to choose your own working hours seems to be expanding to small businesses as well.

According to the survey, conducted by Vodafone, more than three-quarters (83 per cent) of global employers and employees think that adopting flexible working has caused a spike in productivity.

The 'Flexible: Friend or Foe?’ report involved more than 8,000 respondents across ten countries and found that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are particularly keen to benefit from the business advantages of more flexible working.

It revealed that nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of the SMEs, public sector organisations and multinational companies included in the research said flexible working had helped increase company profits.

Increases in internet reliability and speed have changed the business landscape, with employees from companies of all sizes able to work anywhere. This has been especially helpful for those who are consultants or other self-employed professionals, as it allows them to beat competitors and engage with prospective clients wherever they are.

The research found that nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of respondents said their employees used their home broadband for work matters, and a quarter (24 per cent) said they use their smartphone, tablet or laptop to work with a mobile data connection.

Vodafone Group enterprise chief executive Nick Jeffery said: “Our research reveals a profound and rapid shift in the modern workplace. Employers are telling us that flexible working boosts profits while their employees tell us they’re more productive.”

However, it seems that many employees are constrained by their business policies when it comes to being able to realise their potential through more flexible working.

The research found that a fifth of people said their organisation was hadn't yet introduced a flexible working policy, and there are still some stereotypes surrounding home working in the business culture.

Some 22 per cent of employees said they would not work as hard if allowed to adopt flexible working patterns and technologies. Other concerns included work being unfairly distributed between flexible and non-flexible groups of employees, and that there would be friction between employees working flexibly and those who do not.

One of the many benefits of becoming self-employed is that you are running your own business, and that acts as the motivation to reap all the benefits from adopting a flexible working approach.

By Victoria McDonnell

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