What is true flexible working? (output rather than hours)

What is flexible working, and how is it defined differently? In some organisations, flexible working might mean the option to work from home for one Friday a month. For others, it could be a commitment to allowing remote working for employees who prefer it. And then there is a whole new generation of flexible workers which Mango HR has seen emerge in the digital era.

Flexible output, rather than hours

Any employee in the UK who has been with their company for over 26 weeks is entitled to make a request for flexible working arrangements. Many of these will be workers contracted to a certain number of hours per week, but whether they undertake this work at home or in the office, the hours are still required. Is this truly flexible? Not when compared to workers who have the flexibility to change their output, as well as their location. This is a prevalent trend in the digital era, providing job opportunities to demographics such as stay-at-home mums whose work time will vary according to the scope of their parental duties throughout the week.

Zero hour contracts

The introduction of these ‘zero hour contracts’ can be a blessing for both employers and employees in some scenarios. An employer can reduce overheads which come with staff who work on site, while employees enjoy the freedom to work when they want, as their lifestyle dictates. However realistically, these truly flexible positions only appear likely to work well in certain sectors. At Mango HR we have observed that these might be jobs within organisations which offer work which always needs doing – for example; online PPC marketing, checking of legal documents or graphic design. Then there is work which involves one-off projects to be delivered on deadline – so long as a flexible worker can meet the conditions of the project, there is no reason why they can’t do the job.

The future

As flexible working is introduced by more organisations, the benefits of being able to offer talented individuals the chance to work on their own time and output terms is likely to gain recognition. After all, talent shouldn’t always be overlooked because life commitments mean they can’t stick to a standard working week.

For an expert consultancy on how flexible working can work for your business, call Mango HR on 01291 628319.