Working smarter, not harder

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Last summer new legislation came into force which provides all eligible employees with the right to request flexible working. A survey by Shoosmiths reported that 80% of employers saw no change in the number of requests.

Are employers and employees missing a trick by not making the most of flexible working options to boost staff morale or achieve the allusive ‘work life balance’?

As a recruitment business, we are seeing a growing number of exceptional qualified accountants seeking part-time and/or flexible working opportunities.  Businesses that promote flexible working measure performance on output rather than hours worked, thereby promoting productivity. 

What options are there?

  • Part-time working - any arrangement where workers are contracted to work less than the normal contracted full-time hours.

Flexible working can be on either full-time or part-time basis:

  • Job-sharing – Where two or more part time employees share a job normally fulfilled by one full time employee
  • Flexi-Time - Employees choose within set limits, when to start and finish work
  • Staggered Hours - Employees have different start, finish and break times, allowing a business to open longer hours
  • Term-Workers - Employees are on a permanent contract but can take paid/unpaid leave during the school holidays.
  • Compressed Working Hours - Employees can cover their total number of hours in fewer working days
  • Zero-hours Contracts - Allow employees to agree to be available for work as and when required without specifying the number of hours or times of work
  • Temporary workers - Whether hired on fixed-term contracts or not, are particularly useful if your business has seasonal peaks and troughs
  • Home working/teleworking - An arrangement where employees spend all or part of their week working from home or somewhere else away from the employer’s premises
  • Shift working - One employee replaces another in the same job within a 24 hour period
  • Shift Swapping - Employees arrange shifts amongst themselves, provided all required shifts are covered
  • Self Rostering - Employees nominate the shifts they’d prefer, and you compile shift patterns to match their individual preferences while covering all required shifts.
  • Time Off in Lieu - Employees take time off to compensate for extra hours worked.
  • Annual Hours - A system where an employees’ contracted hours are calculated over a year. Most are allocated but some remaining hours are kept in reserve so that workers can be called in at short notice as required
  • V-Time Working - A voluntary arrangement where employees agree to reduce their hours for a fixed period with a guarantee of full-time work when this period ends
  • Sabbatical/Career Break - Employees are allowed to take an extended period of time off, either paid or unpaid

Businesses open to employing people on a part-time or flexible basis are reaping the following benefits:

  • Increasing the ability of your business to respond to change and peaks of demands, helping to reduce the workloads of other workers (e.g. when you don't have enough work for a new full-time position but are regularly using overtime to meet demands - this can reduce your overtime costs and help prevent the negative effects of stress and fatigue)
  • Access to an expanded pool of potential recruits to bring in highly skilled and experienced staff members who may not be able to work full-time
  • Bolster staff retention rates by offering family-friendly working practices while simultaneously demonstrating to potential clients and customers that you value a diverse workforce and ethical employment practices

Employees that are able to work flexibly are able to balance the needs of making a reliable income with life outside the office and tend to have higher job satisfaction.

If you are a business looking to access the talent pool of individuals seeking flexible working opportunities please get in touch with us on 0131 603 7747


Image: Judy van der Velden