This week (beginning Monday 27 February) is ‘Anywhere Working Week’, an initiative begun by Anywhere Working, a group initiative established to show how flexible working can increase productivity and wellbeing, save the environment, and improve an organisation’s bottom line.
The initiative is supported by the Department for Transport, WWF and the TUC and its founding members include:
- Business in the Community (BITC);
- Vodafone UK;
- Transport for London (TfL).
According to Gordon Frazer, Managing Director at Microsoft UK, flexible working is important for organisations that want to remain competitive:
“It’s no longer viable for businesses to stick to rigid, inefficient ways of working if they want to compete successfully in the market.”
Remote/flexible working can have a number of benefits including:
- allowing organisations to grow without necessarily needing a larger workplace;
- attracting better staff by:
- showing commitment to employees’ work/life balance;
- not necessarily requiring employees to live in the local area (therefore being able to recruit from a wider pool of people);
- improving staff retention as people have the flexibility to work when, where and how they want to;
- (very importantly) helping to keep staff happy and motivated, which could reduce levels of sickness absence and increase productivity.
Information on the benefits of flexible working can be found on the Anywhere Working website, which also includes case studies about organisations that have already adopted flexible working practices. Employers who are interested in providing opportunities for flexible working need to be aware, of course, that care needs to be taken to ensure that the implications of flexible working have been considered and the correct procedures have been put in place to ensure that remote staff:
- remain motivated;
- don’t feel isolated;
- are performing as well as they should;
- have all the necessary equipment and facilities in place to be able to work productively away from the workplace.
For more information on flexible working, see the Anywhere Working website or to find out more about the possible health benefits of flexible working, or to discuss any employee health-related issue, simply contact the free Health for Work Adviceline on 0800 0 77 88 44.