Does Workplace Flexibility Actually Matter? - 27 March 2018

Does Workplace Flexibility Actually Matter?

These days, it's not unusual to want to build flexibility into your working life. Indeed, as far back as 2014, the mental health charity Mind reported how important workplace flexibility was when it came to taking care of our physical and mental health.

Moreover, according to a detailed study of 1,000 employed adults in the UK last year, today's multi-generational workforce preferred flexible working to traditional office hours/location, while a third would have declined a job offer if they weren't able to work flexibly.

So, it's only natural that many businesses today look at alternative working arrangements to attract the right staff.

As Tom Carroll, Head of EMEA and UK Corporate Research recently said, "JLL's Human experience research showed that UK employees are increasingly mobile both within and outside the office and the rise of the flexible office market is a natural response to a structural change in the way people are working."

Largely supported by continuous technological advances, working flexibly is no longer considered overtly progressive or divisive. Interestingly, one of the most popular alternative working arrangement, is the virtual office.

So what is a Virtual Office?

It's the same as a physical office but without the bricks and mortar. It comes with an office address and a receptionist. Depending on what your business needs are, a Virtual Office service will include someone who answers your calls, deals with your mail and/or provides a fuller PA service.

Whilst it's often considered the preserve of start-ups and owner-managed businesses, increasingly, bigger businesses are opting for this solution too. For some, it may be that their most experienced staff are geographically spread, and a permanent physical location just doesn't make financial or logistical sense. For others, having a 'remote' team automatically increases efficiency (time and cost), with no commute time or aggravating facilities issues.

Naturally, one size doesn't fit all, but here are 5 ways you and your business can benefit from heading down the Virtual Office route:

1. Increased productivity
The time you/your employees spend on the road commuting will be spent working. Employees feel positive and more focused too.

2. Healthier workforce
It is said that sitting is the new smoking. So short bursts of activity will help – much more likely to happen if you're working from home than sitting in an office environment.

3. Improved attendance
"Shirking" or working from home? Reports have shown unsurprisingly that home workers take fewer sick days than those based in the office.

4. Increased employee retention
Back in 2013, in partnership with the University of Southern California and the London Business School, PwC conducted a detailed survey of 44,000 employees. The study revealed that work/life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention.

5. Healthier profit margin
No lease, no utility payments and none of the associated costs that come with having a physical office. Invest more in your team and pass savings on to your clients.

There'll always be a need for some businesses to bring their people together in one location to get the work done. However, where technology can really aid flexible working, a virtual office could be just the solution you're looking for.

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