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 Irish business owners and senior managers, eight out of ten report that offering flexible working options is a highly effective way of improving staff morale, and nine out of ten say it helps them achieve a better work-life balance.
The research also points to an increasing appreciation of the wider benefits of flexible working, with three quarters of respondents viewing flexible working as a way to improve business productivity.
Almost seven out of ten (67%) also regard flexible working as a way of saving money, saying that it is lower cost than traditional fixed-office working. Two fifths (43%) of respondents believe that flexible working gives Irish firms significant competitive advantage.
Underlining the recruitment advantages, six in ten (63%) stressed that flexi-hours and flexi-location are increasingly demanded by prospective employees. This chimes with previous research which found that nearly eight in ten (77%) employees would choose one job over another if it offered greater flexibility and a choice of work style.
Karen Lawlor, country manager for Ireland at Regus commented: “Giving staff a choice in where, when and how they work makes a huge difference to their overall happiness, for a variety of reasons – from cutting down on the stress of a long commute, to having more time to eat healthily, to simply getting home from work earlier. And happier workers translate into a more productive workforce.
“Adopting a modern, flexible approach to work usually involves a rethink in the way employers approach their physical workspace. Flexible workforces need flexible offices – often a combination of the traditional corporate office, the home office, local business centres and ‘third places’ in between – whichever best suits the individual worker.”
Regus currently has five locations in Dublin (including the recently opened centre in The Chase, Sandyford) and one in Cork. It estimates that companies can save up to 60 per cent on their property costs if they move to a flexible workspace model. Customers include Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as hundreds of thousands of SMEs and start-ups.