Is 2016 the year of a revolution in flexible working? – Predictions for the year ahead and the future of work.
For those of you seeking and perhaps struggling to find fulfilling flexibile working opportunities at work, 2016 be the year of change?
The Christmas break seems to have long since faded away as we have been thrust back into the routine of everyday life. Most of you will be reading this as you have either made a commitment to find a new job in 2016 or you are browsing to see what other opportunities there might be for you. Perhaps you are hoping the ‘grass is, indeed, greener’?
A staggering 14.1 million British workers are interested in flexible working so there has never been a more relevant time to talk about it – as changes in legislation, society and technology all converge. The traditional model of nine to five might not be extinct, but it’s probably fair to say that it is endangered necessitating employers to focus more on the output of workers rather than the time spent in the office.
Flexible working benefits business
The majority of us will agree that more companies need to open their doors to flexible workers and challenge the outdated perceptions associated with it. To make flexible working work, employers need to see the killer benefits that working from anywhere or on a part time basis will bring. They need to provide employees with the right tools to keep communication channels open, help their workforce to become more productive, and provide them an environment of trust.
According to research by EY, 82% of managers do believe flexible working benefits their business; two thirds mention increased motivation, commitment and even employee relations but we need to see faster adoption and adaptation of working policies.
Flexible working driven by innovations and employee preferences
Innovations in technology and trust will have a huge part to play if we are to witness a revolution in work flexibility. Work is no longer a place that we go to – it could be anywhere anytime and accessed via numerous devices. In the next five years it is estimated that approximately 40 percent of the workforce will be contractors working typically from co-working spaces or remotly – all supported by improved and integrated technology.
But while the technology certainly enables workforce mobility, it is basic economics and employee preferences and expectations that are driving its explosive growth. Most people are thrilled to avoid those long commutes or are able to comfortably juggle home life with work life. The legislation that came out last year giving everyone the right to request flexible working has started to level the playing field. Fathers are now the front line and the ones needing support so that they can break the mould and feel confident in requesting flexible working. This is turn is starting to take away the ‘mother’ stereotype and makes it much more the norm in society.
Nobody really knows where we are going to, because everything in the world of work is changing too fast. The employee of yesterday is very different to the employee of tomorrow. Technology will no doubt play a massive part in how we all work and how businesses adopt flexible working and is fast becoming the most important requirement for workers today – particularly for Millennials as well as parents.
Your employer cannot avoid flexible working
So if you are seeking flexibility in your job, and have struggled to find it, perhaps 2016 is the year you will see some changes and greater opportunities out there as businesses start to adapt. We urge you to challenge employers and educate them on the benefits of resourcing experienced professionals, like you, on a flexible basis. Have confidence that this trend is here to stay and you will soon be part of a majority not minority seeking workplace flexibility.
Companies should start to understand that they will be left behind if they don’t grasp the changing workforce demands and invest in supporting technologies and gain a strong belief that flexibility is a win, win.
Can 2016 really be the year of a revolution in work flexibility? Watch this space.
Author: Amanda Bixby. Amanda works for Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities.