Flexible working

How a flexible workforce can benefit your business

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Jul 08, 2024

The world of work is evolving, and the demand for flexible working arrangements to achieve a work-life balance is increasing. As a result, it's essential to explore your options for creating a flexible workforce.

In the past, working hours outside of the traditional 9-5 were typically only offered to working parents, new parents, or those with caring responsibilities. But, now more companies are recognising the benefits of having a flexible workforce with working arrangements that cater to the needs of all employees.

But what does this mean for you as an employer? Let’s take a look at what a flexible workforce is and how you can benefit by implementing work flexibility.

What is a flexible workforce?

Any business with a flexible workforce employs workers who are not bound by a strict 9-to-5 routine. In a flexible workplace, employees may work remotely from your office with the option of choosing their own hours, may work part-time or temporarily from home, or may work from home full-time.

In fact, your entire workforce may be dispersed across a city or the world without a physical office space. Flexible workforces could also include temporary employees, freelancers, and contractors.

Most common examples of a flexible workforce

There are many options at your disposal when offering workplace flexibility. However, the most common examples of flexible working include:

Part-time work

Part-time work refers to employment opportunities where your employee works less than full-time hours, either by working fewer days or reducing their working hours during the day.

Working part-time offers flexibility and time for other pursuits, making it perfect for students and working parents. It also provides the opportunity to gain experience in a new industry and transition into full-time work.

Job sharing

Job sharing involves two employees sharing a full-time position, with both having equal responsibilities and accountability for the role's success.

The flexible working arrangements and hours offered by this type of work are beneficial for both employees, as they can choose to work part-time or reduced hours. It also provides them with the opportunity to handle important tasks and keep their job title while transitioning to a more desirable work schedule.

Flexible working hours

Flexible working hours, also known as flexitime, is a flexible way of working which allows employees to customise their working hours to meet their own individual needs and accommodate commitments outside of work.

This could involve them working from home two days a week or adjusting their start and finish times. This can help your workers to avoid busy commute times and help working parents work around childcare.

Working from home

Work-from-home arrangements have become a popular choice for both employers and employees as an example of a flexible workforce. It allows your employees to work from locations other than their usual workplace. Not just their home but any agreed place where they can work remotely.

Working from home can offer you and your employees a reduced commute time, increased flexibility, and cost savings. However, it's important to maintain professionalism and meet deadlines for successful remote work.

Compressed hours

Compressed hours refer to flexible work arrangements where employees work the same number of hours but within fewer days. For example, you may implement a three-to-four-day work schedule while still requiring employees to complete their weekly or monthly hours.

This arrangement allows workers to enjoy an extra day off and have more flexibility in completing other tasks. By taking Mondays or Fridays off, employees can have the luxury of enjoying three-day weekends.

Flexible Staffing

Instead of hiring permanent employees, some companies opt for a strategy known as "Flexible Staffing." This approach involves using part-time workers, independent contractors, and temporary employees to create a more flexible workforce.

This can help you to save money on operation costs, as you are only paying for the talent when you need it.

A person working from home with their dog

Flexible workforce benefits

Having a flexible workforce prioritises the needs and considerations of your employee more than traditional working arrangements, leading to a healthier work-life balance and better workload balance.

Flexible options in your workplace not only benefit you but also benefits your employees and managers. Some key benefits and advantages that a flexible workforce can offer your business include:

Attraction and retention of top talent

If you want to attract and keep top talent, having a flexible workforce is beneficial. By offering flexible work, your business demonstrates trust in your employees' ability to complete tasks without constant supervision.

Which can give you an edge over competitor companies, who don't offer flexible jobs. Leading to increased employee retention rates, resulting in lower costs for regular training and a greater return on investment.

Reduction of operation costs

Implementing a flexible workforce can help you save money on business operations. For example, allowing your employees to work outside the office, can reduce expenses such as rent, utilities, and cleaning services.

Improved workplace diversity

By having a flexible workforce, you can increase diversity in your company. Offering flexible opportunities opens you up to a global labour market with fewer geographical limitations. This allows you to tap into a larger talent pool, improving your chances of success.

Additionally, fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace culture provides a welcoming atmosphere for all employees and promotes opportunities for learning among all stakeholders.

Increases productivity

Workers' productivity levels vary throughout the day, which means scheduling their tasks during their most productive hours can boost efficiency and improve the quality of their work which can only be done with a flexible workforce.

Promote a healthy work-life balance

Flexible working gives employees the freedom to allocate time to their physical and mental well-being. This could be anything from spending time with their loved ones to hitting the gym. With greater control over their time, workers can better manage their work tasks while still fulfilling personal responsibilities.

And, without the strict 9-5 office environment, employees can better manage a healthy work-life balance, reducing the risk of burnout.

While the benefits and advantages of a flexible workforce are highly desirable it's important to remember that some businesses can't operate with a flexible workforce or simply prefer a more regimented schedule.

A women looking happy whilst on a meeting

Managing your flexible workforce with BrightHR

Thanks to technological innovations, it's easier than ever to manage and implement flexible options into your business. Our award-winning HR software can assist you in creating a flexible workforce that benefits both you and your employees.

With our software, you'll be able to:

  • Fully modernise your business for flexible working requirements.
  • Create shifts and rotas for any working pattern with ease.
  • Update and securely store your flexible workforce policy with unlimited cloud storage.
  • Track your remote workers from any location with Blip, our exclusive clocking in and out app.

See for yourself how BrightHR can help you establish a flexible workforce, book your FREE demo or call us on 0800 470 2432.

Lucy Cobb

Employment Law Specialist

Share this article

Have a question?

Ask away, we’ve got lightning fast answers for UK business owners and employers powered by qualified experts.

More on employment contracts

Types of employee contracts

As a business owner, the status of your staff can take on any of the following forms: Employee Worker Self-employed What type of workers ...

Read more about Types of employee contracts
Person working at window

Changing an Employees' Working Hours

In a time where conventional working hours are becoming less common, options like flexitime are becoming more standard. However, not all companies ...

Read more about Changing an Employees' Working Hours
two males at a desk

Job offer letters

What you need to know about writing a job offer letter Recruitment is time-consuming. There are job specs to write, interviews to hold, and you have ...

Read more about Job offer letters
clock in hands

Employee and worker overtime

Overtime is any time worked over the normal working hours stated in a contract. The employment contract you provide should include working hours and ...

Read more about Employee and worker overtime

Employing an apprentice

For various reasons, as a business it can be a great idea to bring in young talent. If they’re happy to learn a trade and new skills from you, then ...

Read more about Employing an apprentice

Employee contract rights

Your staff members have statutory employment rights. They’re set out in law to ensure equal and fair treatment. There can also be variations ...

Read more about Employee contract rights
male pouring a latte in a bar

Agency worker rights

There are 865,000 agency workers in the UK. This figure amounts to a 30% increase from 2011. The source for this is the Resolution Foundation ...

Read more about Agency worker rights

Terms and Conditions of Employment

Most employees join a new job after agreeing to the terms and conditions set out by a business. Employment terms and conditions normally include ...

Read more about Terms and Conditions of Employment
Employees going over the employee handbook

Employee Handbook

As an employer, you need to make it clear to your new employees what is expected of them during their time with you. This includes conduct, policies ...

Read more about Employee Handbook