Guest Blog by Sanj Mahal, Founder & CEO of AndCo
While the concept of flexible working may seem at odds with the recruitment sector’s traditional working cultures, early adopters within the industry are reaping the benefits of a different way of working.
Flexible working provides an array of benefits to businesses, including improved work-life balance, increased productivity and enhanced motivation. For the recruiters themselves, who regularly meet prospective candidates outside of usual working hours, flexible working can also notably improve work-life balance and have the additional benefit of reducing the amount of unnecessary travel.
With flexible working benefits incentivising recruiters to seek employers that demonstrate a more open and flexible culture, recruitment companies should look to adopt smarter working practises in order to build a more satisfied efficient, and diverse, workforce.
The strong work ethic and long office hours commonly associated with the recruitment sector has contributed to a culture of ‘presenteeism’, where employers feel they need to be at their office for more hours than required. To combat this, employers must make sure that flexible working policies are clear, concise and implemented from the top-down within the company, as employees are more likely to embrace flexible working if they’ve been encouraged by their managers.
For many employers one of the biggest benefits of implementing a flexible working policy is the need for less permanent office space and reduced overheads. However, recruitment leaders also need to ensure their workers are able to work in a productive and discreet environment when working away from the office.
While some of the biggest names in the co-working sector may prove too expensive for many SMEs, the rapid rise in flexible working’s popularity has led to a range of affordable tech-enabled co-working and hot-desking platforms being developed. Employers can use coworking directories like Workfrom and Coworker to locate affordable traditional co working spaces. They can also look to companies like AndCo, who partner with local restaurants, bars and cafes to provide a subscription-based flexible working service for those seeking less permanent office space at lower costs.
These options all provide locations for employees to work closer to home, or to find convenient meeting locations, and mean that workers can benefit from enhanced motivation and improved work-life balance without negatively affecting productivity.
Another common concern employers have with regard to flexible working is that contact with their teams will be more difficult and less frequent while they are working away from the office. Without face-to-face contact, they fear work productivity will suffer and meetings might be delayed. However, technology is being rolled out across a variety of sectors to aid employees in balancing work-life commitments and facilitate flexible working. With secure messaging apps like Slack or WhatsApp, for example, communication can easily be maintained at all times.
As well as these platforms, video conferencing tools can maintain accessibility with clients as well as colleagues, while web-based file sharing solutions like Google Drive and Box mean they can access and share key documents despite being away from the office.
Offering flexible working is also a key way in which an organisation can build a more diverse workforce. Employees with different lifestyles, parental responsibilities or long-term health conditions may struggle to work a traditional office-based job, so flexible working might suit them better. Diverse workforces have a broader range of skills, knowledge and experience, meaning that employers benefit from increased flexibility and creativity in overcoming challenges. A diverse workforce has also been proven to improve staff retention.
Flexible working allows the recruitment sector to change its working cultures for the better and to bring positive change to the workplace in terms of inclusivity, motivation and work-life balance, for all employees.