Does flexible working even more than it used to?

Does flexible working even more than it used to?

Working from home throughout the pandemic might have changed our working habits for good.

Twenty years ago, most jobs were full-time, Monday to Friday, worked between the hours of 9am and 5pm, with little flexibility to change this if something urgent or unexpected cropped up in an employee’s family/personal life. The vast majority of roles were carried out in a shared workplace of some form, too.

However, the events of 2020 proved that not every job needs to be structured in such a traditional way. Not every job needs to be delivered from an office, and flexible working can motivate people to be more effective and productive.

Flexible hours, part-time jobs and freelance roles existed before the pandemic and were advertised as such. In comparison, full-time positions were commonly set in stone—usually, with no room for negotiation.

Today, more and more jobseekers are negotiating part-time and/or flexible working arrangements in positions originally advertised as full-time and from the office. Employees, at least, are recognising that, after a tumultuous few years, traditional working patterns no longer suit everyone.

Flexible working can bring greater job satisfaction and a better work-life balance, especially for those employees raising a family or people juggling other commitments as well as their job. A business owner/hiring manager with a more traditional (read: outdated) outlook might disregard a candidate based on their need for flexibility; however, more and more recruiters/employers are adopting a progressive perspective. They’re recognising that people applying for flexible positions today are not only ‘mums wanting to work within school hours’, but people of all ages, genders, skills, abilities and backgrounds. If meeting their requests for flexible working is likely to make those employees even more hardworking and motivated, switched-on recruiters see this as a definite win.

So, should recruiters suggest in their job descriptions for full-time roles that there may be room for negotiation?

Surely, if a full-time position necessitates full-time hours, what would be the point of suggesting otherwise; wouldn’t the words ‘room for negotiation’ attract candidates who only want part-time hours, and wouldn’t this simply lead to both parties wasting their time? On the other hand, not including ‘room for negotiation’ on a job description might discourage quality candidates from even applying in the first place.

Is it better for businesses to have the right people working for them, even if this means creating more part-time positions to balance employees’ requirements with the company’s trading needs? Or is it preferable to stick with the number of full-time positions required, in the hope the right people still apply?

If a recruiter is to offer flexible working arrangements within a role that would have once been a full-time, 9-5 position, they need to be truly understanding about what those flexible arrangements will entail. It might mean more than an employee simply finishing slightly earlier on a Friday so that they can pick their child up from school. For example, a remote working role for 10 hours per week could be great for someone with other jobs, family commitments or physical challenges that prevent them from commuting to a workplace—it may even widen the pool of candidates. However, if the hirer still expects this employee to come into the office every week for a meeting, many of them will be turned off. Remote working should attract talent from all over the UK (if not the world)…if you then specify a weekly, in-person meeting at the office, you’ll find yourself limited to candidates from the local area only. Remote working should mean exactly that.

If someone is content with their working pattern and arrangements, this will be reflected in their work. The pandemic has shown a lot of people that it's not healthy to ‘live to work’. Our world is not as limited or narrow as it was in previous generations, and our working patterns should reflect the pull of everything else we may have going on in our lives. Today, most people ‘work to live’; their job(s) is not the be all and end all, it simply enables them to do the thigs they enjoy.

As specialists in recruitment web design, we know that few jobs need to be done within the confines of the 9-5, or even in an office, due to the solutions that today’s technology can provide. It’s incredibly short-sighted to stick to working patterns and practices that our parents and grandparents may have enjoyed.

Some employers seem to want a lot from their staff but don’t want to give anything back in return. And yet studies have shown that pay is only one incentive to work for an employer; flexible working is probably an equal expectation in 2022.

Fast Recruitment Websites specialise in recruitment website design. Your website forms part of the recruitment process, as candidates seek out more information about you and the roles you have on offer. Do you promote flexible working opportunities clearly? For advice from the experts, contact us on 01302 288591.

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