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Flexible Working

Flexible working opportunities can benefit everyone - employers, employees and their families. Most employers now recognise that it makes good business sense to provide flexible working opportunities for their staff. 

Flexible working has gained popularity for several reasons, driven by changes in technology, work culture, and the evolving preferences of both employees and employers. Flexible working also has the following benefits for working people and businesses: 

  • Work-Life Balance: Flexible working allows employees to better balance their work and personal lives. It gives them the freedom to adjust their schedules to accommodate family needs, personal activities, and other commitments.

  • Technology: The advancement of technology, particularly the internet and communication tools, has made it easier for employees to work remotely and stay connected with their teams. This has enabled work to be done effectively outside of the traditional office environment.

  • Productivity and Performance: Many employees find that they are more productive when they have the flexibility to work in environments where they feel most comfortable and focused. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and improved performance.

  • Reduced Commuting Stress: Commuting to work can be time-consuming and stressful. Flexible working options, such as remote work or flexible hours, can significantly reduce commuting-related stress and improve overall well-being.

  • Talent Attraction and Retention: Offering flexible working arrangements can attract a wider pool of talent, including those who may have personal circumstances that prevent them from working traditional hours. It also helps retain valuable employees who might otherwise leave due to inflexible work arrangements.

  • Globalisation and Time Zones: In a globalised world, businesses often need to collaborate with teams and clients in different time zones. Flexible working can accommodate these time differences more effectively.

  • Diverse Workforce: Different individuals have different work preferences. Some people are more productive in the morning, while others thrive in the evening. Flexible working allows employees to tailor their schedules to their peak productivity times.

  • Cost Savings: For employers, offering flexible working options can lead to cost savings. It reduces the need for large office spaces, utilities, and other overhead expenses.

  • Health and Well-being: Flexible working can contribute to improved mental and physical health by reducing stress, burnout, and the negative effects of long commutes.

  • Disruption Preparedness: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of flexible working in ensuring business continuity during times of crisis. Companies that already had flexible policies were better positioned to adapt to remote work and lockdowns.

  • Environmental Impact: Reduced commuting and office usage can contribute to a smaller carbon footprint and help address environmental concerns.

  • Legal and Policy Changes: Some governments have introduced policies that encourage or require companies to offer flexible working arrangements as a way to support work-life balance and diversity.

It's important to note that the popularity of flexible working doesn't mean it's suitable for all industries, roles, or individuals. While it offers many benefits, it also comes with challenges such as maintaining team collaboration, communication, and ensuring equitable treatment of all employees. The right balance between flexibility and structure varies depending on the organisation and its specific needs.


What is Flexible Working?

'Flexible working' is a phrase that describes any working pattern adapted to suit your needs. Common types of flexible working are:

  • Flexi time: choosing when to work (there's usually a core period during which you have to work)
  • Annualised hours: your hours are worked out over a year (often set shifts with you deciding when to work the other hours)
  • Compressed hours: working your agreed hours over fewer days
  • Staggered hours: different starting, break and finishing times for employees in the same workplace
  • Job sharing: sharing a job designed for one person with someone else
  • Home working: working from home
  • Part-time: working less than the normal hours, perhaps by working fewer days per week

Remember, this list is not exhaustive and there may be other forms of flexible working that are better suited to you and your employer.

How to request flexible working?

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working and the Flexible Working Bill means that employers are obliged to take requests seriously. 

What happens then?

Employers are within their right to refuse your application if they have a good business reason for doing so, but they must have assessed the advantages and disadvantages of your flexible leave request, have held a meeting to discuss this with you, and offered an appeal process if the request was refused.

Read our blog about how flexible working has changed the game for Pharma recruitment since things got back to normal post-pandemic. 

Looking for your next role in Pharma & Life Sciences?

Most of our clients recognise the importance of flexible working and have incorporated it into their job offerings. Browse through our live vacancies here. Alternatively, you can submit your CV or arrange a call with us below to discuss any options there may be for you.