It’s time to celebrate! Crack open the champagne, plan the party, invite your guests; no longer will we be ensnared by the 9-to-5 working schedule.
But how does that statement hold up when millions of people are still slugging it out in rush hour traffic, spending an hour or two (sometimes even more) each way into and from work five days a week?
This Is Only the Beginning
It’s going to take time, but we are finally seeing signs that even the largest companies out there have become more open to the idea of what’s commonly referred to as ‘flexible working.’ There’s no simple and single definition for flexible working, but basically it refers to flexible schedules for employees.
Ø Some employees may work completely remotely. Others may work from home, for example, for just one or two days a week.
Ø They may have alternate daily schedules (for example) working from 11 AM to 7 PM as opposed to 8 AM to 4 PM.
Ø This could include having multiple employees working on the same project, sharing responsibilities from one day to the next.
Ø Flexible working can also refer to “Result Only Work Environments.” This means people are paid based on results rather than the number of hours worked.
Some companies are even leveraging flexible working in order to expand their labor pool. They can hire independent contractors or freelancers as well as agencies to perform specific tasks, especially if those tasks require an area of expertise for which the company does not have an employee.
For example, a SME (small to midsized enterprise) does not have an IT specialist, but they might require network security, coding, or some other information technology work conducted, but only for a short time (such as a three-month project) They could certainly hire someone for a full-time position, but that doesn’t make sense if it’s only going to be temporary.
The cost of hiring, training, conducting paperwork to get this person started, and more $1,200 to $1,500 per employee. For mid-level management and executive positions, the costs can be much, much higher.
Flexible Working Offers … Flexibility
There are numerous things that entice qualified and highly sought-after employees to particular companies. It’s one of the reasons why many of the tech giants in Silicon Valley, California have exercise facilities, full restaurants and dining options that don’t charge their employees, exceedingly generous incentive options, and more; they understand valued employees want these enticements.
Getting outside Silicon Valley, though, we are starting to see more companies, large and mid-sized, focusing resources on providing a more appealing work environment for prospective team members in the future. They not only want to maintain quality workers, but also entice the best of the best.
Becoming invested in flexible working helps companies of all sizes reach a larger pool of qualified candidates and also entices the best workers because of that flexibility.
Flexible Working Offers Cost Savings
And that’s the whole point. This is where companies are beginning to turn. wpelevation.com noted in a post on results-driven pay, that, “The best way to cross that line of false expectations and vague planning is value-based pricing.”
This means companies are realizing tasks they assign to full and part-time employees whom they are paying perhaps 10 hours to perform (equaling, for example $200) could be done by an experienced freelance professional who has more expertise in that particular field for $150.
To the company, it doesn’t matter how long it’s going to take this ‘flexible worker’, whether it requires three hours or 13 hours; the company pays for the results, not how long it takes or how much effort is put in.
That makes flexible working even more advantageous economically for the company itself.
In a PGi report, it was noted that approximately 80 percent of employers now permit employees to telecommute. Telecommuting means being able to work remotely, most commonly from home. This doesn’t mean 80 percent of employers allow all of their workers to work from home all the time, but they offer these options, which can help families with children, reduce commuting costs, and even be a prospective benefit to entice more valuable workers.
In many cases, these companies allow some of their employees to work remotely one or two days a week. Some permit this flexible work schedule more often.
It can even help reduce utility expenses.
When a business operates in an extremely cold climate, for example, keeping the office open five days a week will require heating. If the cost of natural gas or heating oil is $300 a week, dividing that by five means a cost of $60 a day. Larger companies and office spaces may spend $100 every single day on those electric and heating expenses and the same principles hold true during hot, humid climates.
If that company can essentially shut down operations one day a week, having all of its employees work remotely on a Friday, for example, not only will those employees feel more valued and have the perception of three-day weekends (even though they will be working from home) it can save the company $100 (or $60) every single week, which can add up to thousands upon thousands of dollars each heating or cooling season.
Flexible working can also improve employee satisfaction and therefore entice a higher quality or caliber of workforce. According to Michael Fitzpatrick, CEO of ConnectSolutions:
“Our Remote Collaborative Worker Survey suggests there are significant benefits to be gained by both remote workers and their employers with off-site employees motivated to work harder and more efficiently to protect both the personal and professional benefits of working remotely. Even the personal benefits workers experience can be viewed as employer benefits since workers tend to be happier, less stressed out, and healthier, thereby bringing down the costs of turnover, absenteeism, lower productivity, and other issues."
The Competitive Advantage
Some companies have found a competitive advantage by employing flexible work schedules for their team members. This can be exceedingly advantageous for valuable employees who have young children, aging parents for who may look after, and more.
According to Fast Company, there are companies offering unlimited vacation policies, but this type of system will only work when there is a culture of high trust and respect between employees and management. It’s usually more beneficial when there is “feast or famine” workloads, such as in the tech industry.
Flexible working can also be a competitive advantage for employees in management, business, and financial industries as well as some service and sales. It is not as effective in healthcare, construction, or general installation, maintenance, and repair of homes or business properties. So, flexible working will not be advantageous for all industries, but for those that can enjoy these benefits, it can offer some companies a decided competitive edge, especially by enticing higher value workers to its workforce.
The Key Is Finding a Dependable Platform
There are numerous platforms to use for companies seeking freelancers and other flexible employees, but whether it’s freelancing or part, temporary, or full-time employees, the platform makes a difference.
semilimes is an example of a new platform that is revolutionizing flexible working. Not only do they provide exceptional communication tools, including videoconferencing features, but they also have a full ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) management system that companies can use to better organize their flexible workforce.
What makes semilimes revolutionary is that these tools (the same types of tools that major corporations spend millions of dollars to develop and use for themselves) are completely free for registered users.
That opens up a tremendous gateway for small, midsized, and even larger businesses to reach out, expand their workforce, and rely on a stronger pool of prospective workers who may not live in the same geographic location.
As more people embrace flexible working, it begins to signal the end of the 9-to-5 grind. It takes time, of course, but with a reliable, secure, powerful platform, the possibilities almost certainly become limitless.