It’s nearly Christmas! Now, whilst this should be a time of elated festivities and general merriment, Christmas tends to really stress people out. It makes sense; people have lives, families and jobs to attend to already, but now they have to find gifts for people and make an assortment of plans, all the while managing their (likely increasing) workload. Businesses have a responsibility to keep their employees content and help them manage their tasks at all times, and flexible working can make this a lot easier.
According to a recent study, ‘33 percent of candidates have declined a position because they didn’t have flexible work options’. Flexible working is clearly growing in value and so can no longer be dismissed by businesses owners. For an explanation and overview of flexible working in its entirety, see our previous blog post.
On the other hand, this blog post makes sense of how flexible working could benefit you right now. I wanted this article to focus on flexible working and the Christmas holidays so that you lovely readers could understand its usefulness in a real and annually recurring situation.
Flexible Working Reduces the Concentration of Holidays
As Christmas is a national holiday, many Brits want to book time off around this period. They want to see family, travel, stuff their faces with Christmas treats and generally celebrate – and they need a decent amount of time to do that.
This can create problems for employers who stay open over Christmas. You need staff to remain available, so you have to decide who gets which holiday dates – a thoroughly dreadful activity that can create animosity among your employees.
Flexible working can take the pressure of employers and employees when it comes to dividing up this Christmas holiday period. Instead of having all of your employees book time off over the same days, give them the option to work from home or work remotely if this is possible. Of course, not every employee can do their job from home – restaurant or construction staff for example – but any business with office workers or a great deal of paper/computer work can give this to employees as an option.
Alternatively, managers give their staff an incentive to speed up productivity; if they complete all of their work early, then they can leave work early.
From the perspective of the employer, as long as the work gets done properly and in good time, does it matter where or when they do the work?
Flexible Working Eases the Pressure of Overtime
Combined with the issue of holiday concentration during the Christmas period, a lot of businesses also have to worry about securing staff to work overtime. If Christmas is a busy period for your company, then you should use every method at your disposal to ensure it runs smoothly.
Flexible working works so well during the Christmas holidays because it makes it easier on your employees and helps employers secure the overtime they need.
Business owners and managers should hold a staff meeting in which they clearly communicate to their employees that Christmas will be a very busy time and that overtime will be required. The groans of discontent will soon dissipate when these employees hear that they have the option to work from home. Ultimately, flexible working decreases the likelihood of employees calling in sick and keeps your business on track.
On the other hand, if you’re an employee who is happy to work overtime but would find it much easier to not be in the office over Christmas, simply ask your boss if working from home is an option.
Flexible Working is an Answer to Adverse Weather
Winter in Britain is cold. True, we’re not up to our elbows in snow but the bitter chill doesn’t do a lot to aid productivity. Workplace Insight cites that, ‘over half (57 percent) of office workers say they’d be more productive working from home when the weather gets colder’. Of course they would! Firstly, that unpleasant morning commute isn’t doing much to help them fight off that cold they’ve been battling with since the beginning of November. Secondly, it can be hard for staff to focus on work if their office is notoriously cold during winter. Flexible working is a fantastic solution to this bitter problem. Think about how much more pleasant you would find writing those stressful reports, if you could sip your choice coffee out of your favourite mug while wrapped up warm within the confines of your well insulated home.
Of course, business owners could – should – buy heaters to make their offices comfortable places to work in. But flexible working is a great alternative, particularly for those workers who have a long and arduous commute in the cold.
Flexible Working Helps Appease Stress
From the perspective of the employee, flexible working has its benefits even if it’s not the exact solution they pictured. Of course it’s not ideal for them to write that proposal from a hotel room while their family are off enjoying themselves at the beach, but it’s better than not being able to go on holiday at all.
Most employees understand why businesses need them to work over Christmas, but that doesn’t make them happy about it. Offering them a compromise such as flexible working shows workers that their employer values their staff, which in turn encourages them to value their employer and fulfil their tasks effectively – making it easier on the business in the long run.