New year, new you – or new job?

Just in time for Blue Monday (whether a PR gimmick or not) and the annual leap in employees looking for new roles post-Christmas, research has revealed that a quarter of UK workers have turned down a job for not offering flexible working. So are UK businesses failing to meet current employee expectations?

CIPD research suggests that the proportion of people in the UK who have a flexible working arrangement has flatlined since 2010. To address this issue, the Flexible Working Task Force – co-chaired by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the CIPD – is now urging employers to advertise jobs of all levels and pay grades as flexible by including the strapline: “Happy to Talk Flexible Working.”

It’s about time. As an employee in an organisation which heavily promotes a Thoughtful Working policy, it’s hard to imagine that so many workers are unable to tap into today’s ‘working from anywhere’ culture. Beyond retaining talent, flexible working is also key to attracting new staff and employing a diverse workforce. Just consider the huge media interest in Travelodge’s recent bid to get parents back into work with a flexible working drive. Aside from raising awareness of Travelodge as a considerate employer, it clearly communicated the company’s core values while opening up a new talent pipeline.

The truth is that technology available today makes implementing a flexible working culture a no-brainer. Just consider collaboration hub Slack and its ability to bring all communication together. It is helping leading companies like Ocado enable efficient teamwork, provide faster access to information and people (wherever they are) and boost collaboration – increasing productivity while ensuring staff can work efficiently from any location. Another great example is Huddle, a secure collaboration tool designed to help teams work together better. From coworkers to clients, it makes document collaboration simple and secure so teams can easily share, discuss and work on their content – no matter where they are based. By making the most of digital innovation today, organisations can offer a flexible working culture that helps employees balance their work and home life while simultaneously tapping into a more diverse workforce.

 So is your organisation ‘happy to talk flexible working’ in 2019? If not, why not?