Three (data-backed) benefits of flexible working for employees
17th Dec 2019
When we first started looking into the idea of building a flexible working platform, much of our discussion around why people wanted to work flexibly was anecdotal or personal to us. As we dug into the drivers behind the shift towards flexible working, we realised that there was a huge body of evidence pointing to the reality that flexibility offers material benefits for us as human beings.
We thought it would be interesting to write about the findings from some of the surveys and studies carried out on flexible working, and pull out three brilliant benefits of working flexibly for employees.
Flexible working can improve our mental health
Workplace mental health has become a talking point globally, and rightfully so when 12.4% of sick days in the UK are due to mental health conditions, according to the ONS. Our jobs affect our mental health, and even those without conditions can experience adverse effects on their mental health in stressful working environments.
Being given more control over the hours and way that we work can have remarkable benefits for our mental health and stress levels. According to a survey of over 100 companies by Wildgoose, 39% of employees able to work flexibly found that it had a positive effect on their mental health. In particular, time flexibility was shown to have a positive effect on employee health and well-being.
Work-life balance is significantly improved through a more flexible way of working
Our mental health directly influences our perceived work-life balance, but we think that there should be more to balance than coping mentally (we should all be in jobs that enable that!).
Work-life balance is a complex term that means something different to everyone, but having more control over our time and the way that we structure it has an overwhelmingly positive impact on our feeling of balance, whatever that might mean to an individual. Removing the stress from juggling other commitments, reducing commute time, and being able to more easily prioritise time with partners were all top benefits from having flexibility in the workplace, according to the CIPD.
In the Wildgoose 2019 survey, 69.6% of employees that worked flexibly found that the flexibility helped them to maintain work-life balance (and ranked as the number one benefit of flexible working in the survey). In addition, a remarkable 97% of respondents to another survey said that having flexibility would improve their quality of life.
The environmental impact
According to the Office of National Statistics, the average carbon footprint of an officer worker is 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per year, versus an 865 kg footprint of someone who works from home. That 42% saving is roughly the equivalent of 100 loads of laundry. In addition, we are less likely to print as much out when we're at home, meaning that those who work from home consume 32.2% less paper than office workers.
Although flexible working often doesn't mean working from home every day, working from home sometimes still has a significant impact on employees' carbon footprints.
The mental, physical and environmental benefits of flexible working are driving the evolution of the way we work.
Flexible working isn't a gimmick that means companies can pay their employees less (genuinely flexible companies don't do that) or a fib so that employees can spend the day watching Netflix at home. Flexibility has so many benefits for businesses and people, and we want it to become the norm so that we help to create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.
If you want to find a job that offers flexibility, and understand what all of the hype is about, then register with us today!