Flexible working comes into its own over the summer holidays, especially for working parents, but the latest research from global workspace provider Regus shows that it may be the key to long-term happiness at work.
In the poll of nearly 2,200 business owners and senior managers, nine out of ten report that offering flexible working options – including flexi-location as well as flexi-hours – is a highly effective way of improving staff morale and helping them to achieve a better work-life balance.
The research points to an increasing appreciation of the wider benefits of flexible working, compared to similar studies just one year ago. For instance, 81 per cent of respondents see flexible working as a way to improve business productivity – a noticeably higher figure than the 74 per cent in last year’s survey.
Almost seven out of ten (67 per cent) also regard flexible working as a way of saving money, saying that it is lower cost than traditional fixed-office working. Half (49 per cent) of respondents believe that flexible working gives businesses significant competitive advantage.
Underlining the recruitment advantages, seven in ten (68 per cent) stressed that flexi-work is increasingly demanded by prospective employees. This chimes with previous research which found that three quarters of staff would choose one job over another similar one if it offered flexible working.
John Spencer, UK CEO at Regus commented: “The recent regulatory changes give all staff the legal right to request flexible working, and the results of our latest research serve as a timely reminder of the wide-ranging benefits of this modern approach to work. Having a choice in where, when and how we work makes a huge difference to our overall happiness; it helps us cut down on the stress of a long commute, frees up time to cook and eat healthily, or simply helps us get home earlier.
“However, it is important that employers embrace the multi-location workplace, not just flexi-hours. And this doesn’t just mean offering home-working. Most people prefer a more professional, dynamic environment that is closer to home (but crucially not at home), such as a local business centre or a ‘third place’ work location.”
Regus estimates that companies can save up to 60 per cent on their property costs if they move to a flexible workspace model. The company is pioneering the development of ‘third place’ business centres at unconventional locations such as motorway service areas, petrol stations and retail parks, aiming to help people make flexible work more productive.
It has 300 business centres across the UK and a global network encompassing 104 countries.