Flexible working can be viewed on a continuum of flexibility: from no flexibility at all to working-from-home and being measured on productivity, rather than physical presence. Being able to offer flexible-working arrangements is a powerful way to attract and retain high-level skills particularly amongst women. Gender diversity within companies can be enhanced by offering flexible working arrangements during child-rearing years.
If you had to ask ten people to explain what working flexibly means you may get 10 different answers, all of which would probably be correct to some extent.
Here, we break down the most common flexible work arrangements for you to use these when engaging with employers or employees on discussions around flexible working arrangements.
Flexible Start and End Time
The lowest end of flexible working arrangements, the employer may stagger start and finish time for the employee, enabling them to avoid peak traffic or drop children at school. This is often offered in full-time positions that require the employee to be at the office for the full duration of the day but working slightly different hours based on the start time.
Full-time Flexible Working
These jobs are full-time roles where the employer has agreed the employee can work some of their required hours outside of the office. These roles are often outcomes based roles, where the employer is able to measure the outcomes delivered and is not measuring hours at a desk.
Part-time Flexible Working
These jobs are reduced hour roles, or part-time roles, where the employer has agreed that the employee can work some of their hours remotely from outside the office.
The highest end of the flexible working scale, this is typically when an employer is happy for an employee to be working from a virtual space outside of the office.
With the growth of the internet and technology-based apps and tools, working from home is often a benefit used by employers to attract – and retain – some of the highest skilled workers.
Most jobs include a portion of the role that can be done as remote work. Examples of the types of skilled work that can be done entirely on a work-from-home basis are numerous and can include digital marketers (SEO, Google Adwords, Google Analytics), website content writing, bookkeeping, technical writing, administration support in the form of virtual workers, strategy development, customer support particularly online support, legal work and online businesses that hire staff on a virtual basis. The opportunities to work flexibly are endless.
There was a time, thankfully now well in the past, that “temp jobs” – often badly paid and low skilled – were all that were on offer. Even those opportunities were rare, with few privileges. Employers were skills-short and employees were stuck at home watching their skills go to waste and relevancies deteriorate.
The demands of modern living as well as the factors already mentioned in this article, have dictated the rules of supply and demand. The era of flexibility in working arrangements and the mutual benefits they provide are evident and will increase exponentially. The success is measurable and immense. Changes are happening! Hiring and working are variable and mutable.
Exciting times indeed.