Flexible workplace planning became essential rather than a quick fix to survive

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In the current climate of changing times and changing practices it’s become clear that organisations' requirements to implement a flexible workplace plan has become essential for long-term growth rather than just an adjustment to survive.  A flexible workforce plan can specifically relate to a business that grows and shrinks according to the business’ needs.  For example if sales increase the workforce grows, should sales decline the workforce shrinks.  

This can be achieved a number of different ways. One example is by hiring a flexible workforce, whereby the business employs part-time employees, casuals, contractors and independent contractors, which gives the business more flexibility to grow or shrink their workforce depending on the business’ needs.  

A flexible workplace plan can also include a group of employees within the organisation who can perform multiple different functions – multi skilled workers.  The benefits of this approach are higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction and cross trained employees can also relieve an employee if they are unavailable or go on leave.

Another more conventional approach to flexible workplace planning is allowing your employees the flexibility to work from home, choose their working hours or even choose their place of work.

New findings suggest that Australian businesses that do not have a flexible workspace policy risk losing out on top talent. Research conducted by leading flexible workspace provider, IWG, shows that 84% of Australian workers would choose a job which offered flexible working over a job that didn’t.

In the UK the number of people working flexible hours' has increased five-fold in the last two decades.  According to the 1999 Labour Force Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the percentage of people working flexible hours in the UK was 9.5 percent at that time. Recent statistics from CIPD show that this number has since drastically increased, with 54 percent of workers currently having the option to operate outside of typical nine-to-five office hours.

Despite this huge development in improving work-life balance, professionals still want more autonomy. The 2019 UK Working Lives Report reveals that two in three professionals (68 percent) would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available.

In a Crain’s New York Business Future of Work survey with company managers, 78 percent of the respondents listed “flexible schedules and telecommuting” as their most effective non-monetary ways to increase employee retention.

It’s clear that by the beginning of 2020, remote work statistics show big increases in sheer number, but how do those employees feel about the situation? Here’s a few numbers that tell the story:

  • 82 percent of U.S. businesses are using flexible work locations as a way to improve work-life balance.
  • 83 percent of workers in that same global survey report that the ability to work remotely at least some of the time would act as the clincher, if they were deciding between two similar job offers,
  • 32 percent state that having a choice of work location would matter more to them than being given a more prestigious role within their company. (data provided by a Crain’s New York Business Future of Work survey)

Legal technology businesses and law firms are in a position where the above numbers and findings are especially applicable. With demand for their services and products fluctuating, it is essential that they start thinking about going beyond the pure flexible arrangements that were forced upon them because of COVID-19. In recognition of these findings Novum’s HR advisory services have also expanded to help businesses in the sector build these strategies that can essentially optimise the overhead costs to the workload and create the foundations of cross-functional teams. 

If you want to find out more about how your business could benefit from a flexible workplace plan, connect with Novum Advisory. 

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