Last week, the conversation surrounding flexible working rocketed back into the news, after a tweet from Lord Sugar gained publicity. The tweet criticised PwC’s announcement that their staff can take Friday afternoons off during summer, adding fuel to the ongoing debate surrounding flexible working. While some oppose ideas like working from home, four-day weeks, and workplace flexibility, others see these changes as a positive step forward.
All of this has got us thinking – why is flexibility at work so important to people? And how can companies ensure that they are offering each employee the support they need to flourish in a role?
Making work flexible
For many employees, flexible working means choosing where to base themselves, finding more time in the week for family, and feeling trusted and valued by their employer.
A more flexible approach to the working week can also improve inclusivity. For example, flexible hours can open the door to people with disabilities or parents with young children who need to stay at home.
According to flexible work campaigner Anna Whitehouse, who founded Flex Appeal in 2016, flexibility in the workplace is a cornerstone of inclusivity. She explains: “When you take away the walls and the commute, you let more people with disabilities in. When you take away the rigid hours, you enable people with caring responsibilities and with mental health issues in.”
She goes on to say: “When you advertise flexibility in roles, you open the door to greater diversity in the workplace. It’s not about where someone is sitting, it’s about who you are including at the table.”
Of course, flexible working can mean different things to different companies. It goes without saying that certain industries are more able to take a flexible approach than others.
The future of four-day weeks
One element of job flexibility that we’re particularly passionate about here at Mór is the four-day working week.
As well as benefitting employees, four-day weeks can also boost productivity. One study found that companies that adopted a four-day week reported that over three-quarters of staff (78%) were happier, less stressed (70%), and took fewer days off ill (62%).
The four-day working week is ingrained into the core ethos of the Mór. Co-CEO Urchana Moudgil explains that: “We are proud to be pioneering the four-day working week. We often say ‘we work to live and not live to work' but how many of us actually do that? We wanted to change that mindset and create an organisation and environment that actively encourages a positive work-life balance."
She added, “prioritising employee welfare and creating a culture of positivity has been invaluable for productivity and the mental health and wellbeing of our team, who have embraced the four-day working week.”
Striking the perfect balance
Due to the very nature of flexible working, it isn’t something that anyone can be prescriptive about. It doesn’t have to be about scrapping the nine-to-five completely and starting afresh if that isn’t what will benefit your company. Rather it’s about considering each case individually, thinking outside the box about how a business could be run, and listening – really listening – to the needs of your workforce.
In some cases, this could mean the introduction of a four-day week. In others, it could mean a deeper focus on mental health, work-life balance, and employee benefits that actually make a difference.
Are you looking to partner with a company that will help you to reward and retain your employees? Who always puts wellbeing first? Get in touch with The Mór Card today to find out more about our value-led employee benefits.