Opinion

Avoid paid imprisonment – flexible working trends are hitting an office near you

5 min read

19 October 2015

Flexible working trends are becoming standard practice in every kind of industry. The smart companies who adopt new approaches to where, when and how their employees get the job done are proving to be beneficial for both them and their employees.

Here’s how flexible working trends hitting an office near you are making work, work better:

Where you work

For some, trekking across town on any mode of transport to spend the day in an office feels like little more than a form of paid imprisonment, but a combination of new technologies and new attitudes to working is giving people the opportunity to work in different places.

Advancing technologies such as better WiFi, mobile devices and cloud storage make it easy for employees to access information, communicate and complete tasks efficiently from anywhere at any time, making it possible for people to work from home, offsite at a hot desk or even during their commute.

Read more on flexible working:

However, despite growing freedom from the structured location of a workplace, offices are likely to remain the hub of operations and for those employees who still need to work in them, access to purposeful dynamic spaces can alter the office environment and the way employees feel about spending time in it.

Cleverly designed work areas like those incorporated into the offices of Just Giving by Peldon Rose, include break-out rooms, creative hubs, social areas and even isolation pods that are all equipped with power outlets and WiFi.

Their imaginative approach to structuring the office environment gives employees the flexibility to move around and work on or offsite in whichever environment best suits their workloads and their lifestyles. Pretty soon, by creating such a vibrant and diverse workplace, it becomes a destination people look forward to working from.

Continue reading on the next page to understand the freedom offered by the likes of Netflix and Virgin, and how to become more agile.

When you work

Even when employees love their job and derive a real sense of satisfaction from it, conforming to set office hours can be a source of unnecessary stress, particularly for employees with family commitments.

Employers who facilitate flexible hours, either through split-shifts, job shares or by offering freelance or variable hours contracts, make it easier for personnel to work autonomously and do a good job in the hours that work best for them.

This freedom places responsibility for managing workloads and achieving a healthy work-life balance on the employee and although employers are now legally required to offer such a scheme, some companies are extending those freedoms above and beyond their legal obligations.

Netflix and Virgin are building their empires on the premise that when employees feel good, business is good too and, as a result, they now offer their employees unlimited amounts of annual leave. In turn, staff “morale, creativity and productivity have all gone through the roof.”

Five famous female leaders on balancing work and time spent with family

How you work

As an umbrella term, ‘agile working’ describes these changes in the employer/employee relationship which are helping to make staff happy and productive and the companies they work for flourish.

Also described as a ‘trust trend’, these new work practices, which give employees the freedom to manage their workloads as trusted and respected adults, are helping organisations to attract and retain great personnel.

For that reason, many employers who’ve seen the benefits of adopting agile working practices are just as keen to adopt new technologies and services which secure and increase the happiness of their employees and that includes making work, fun!

For those willing to take it a step further, the ‘gamification’ of the workplace has been a growing trend with companies like Google providing gaming space in their offices. Not only does it give employees the opportunity to unwind and socialise, it makes it possible to structure training programmes in an engaging way.

Chris Jenkins is project director at London-based office design company Peldon Rose. For further advice or information about developing a creative, productive and fun workplace that benefits your employees and your organisation as a whole, contact the team.