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

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.”

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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.

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