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5 reasons why you should consider flexible working hours

First, what is flexible working?

Flexible working is an alternative way to work compared to the normal 9 to 5 in the office.

This includes working from home or changing start and finish times.

Whether it’s working from home, part-time work, or picking your own hours, there are plenty of methods and ways flexible working could improve your work efficiency and help you hit that work/life balance.

Below, we’ve listed just 5 of the best reasons why you should consider flexible working hours or allow your employees to work from home:

1. Reduces commuting

Flexible working and the power to work from home allows workers to avoid the daily commute, which is cited as being one of the most unpleasant daily activities.

Removing this travel period has the benefits of saving money and precious time, no more sitting in traffic for an hour using up petrol/diesel or purchasing a bus or train ticket to get to the office and back, allowing you to start and finish the workday faster and make your use of time more efficient.

Another benefit of reduced commutes is that it is more inclusive for workers who may not be able to travel as often due to health complications, childcare, or distance from the office.

It even helps reduce our environmental impact on the planet with less traffic on the roads in urban areas, and less congestion on public transport at peak hours.

2. Improves mental health

Having a flexible approach to office working can help reduce stress and improve how we feel when working.

This not only improves the quality of work, but the quality-of-life outside work as well.

A study conducted by Durham University in 2010 discovered that flexible working arrangements that “increase worker control and choice” had a positive effect on a plethora of health outcomes and sleep quality, tiredness and alertness, blood pressure and mental health as well as secondary outcomes, including a sense of community and social support within a workplace.

Another study conducted by Kingston University for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), found that flex workers tended to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with work, and less likely to quit.

We asked one of our own flex workers how flexible hours effects their health, and the benefits speak for themselves.

“Having the freedom to leave early to pick up kids or go to an appointment with the power to make the time up later has taken a huge weight off my shoulders.

“I’m no longer stressed out all the time trying to navigate two children with different drop offs and racing into the office all within 30 minutes, then panic leaving at the end of the day to rush to the school.

“The pressure of worrying I can’t complete my work has disappeared.” – Rachael Harbison, Compliance Coordinator

3. Increases personal time

In a survey, it was discovered that a third of 2,000 employers say working from home has boosted productivity, with the other two-thirds finding no reduction or boost in efficiency, but still found a boost in free time!

It makes sense considering that different people are most productive at different times throughout the day, so by scheduling work around the hours they’re most productive, employees can execute tasks more efficiently and finish work faster, meaning more time to kick back and relax.

Add in the power to cut out the wasted time from the daily commute and flex workers get a huge boost in personal time to improve their work/life balance, which they can use to spend time with family, or partake in hobbies.

Not to mention, scheduling your hours around when you’re most productive instead of when the office is open also helps workers get on with other activities during the day, like enjoying the sun during summer, or beating the queues when shopping for the holidays.

4. Reduces costs

Heading to work for the day builds up a surprising number of hidden costs that we don’t realise, from petrol and train tickets to coffee and restaurant lunches.

According to a survey conducted by The Office for National Statistics (ONS), the typical employee can save an average of £500 per month through flexible working.

This is largely from a combination of increased productivity, reduced turnover, and real estate costs.

The savings don’t stop there as employees can typically save between £1,800-3,000 a year, potentially even more if they live in large cities such as London.

This mostly comes from a combination of increased productivity, reduced commute, and reduced food and drink spending.

5. Helps the environment

Flexible working can even help create a more sustainable world.

Not only does remote working help reduce commute times and emissions, it also massively decreases paper and plastic usage which lowers emissions and waste!

Even one tree saved can remove up to 14.7 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air, which when combined with the lowered waste becomes a one-two knock out benefit of working from home.

About the author of “5 reasons why you should consider flexible working hours”

Sam Bradshaw joined Astute in 2017 as a Learning and Development Consultant.

While owning the internal recruitment and L&D Department Sam was later promoted to Business Support Team Leader, supporting HR as well as the wider contract and permanent placement process for the business while continuing to run the training department.

Sam was promoted again to Business Support and L&D Manager and finally promoted to Head of People in 2022 covering the full HR function including HR, recruitment, L&D, wellbeing and CSR.

If you enjoyed Sam’s blog about flexible working, connect with her on LinkedIn.