The business ideas exchange group Your Better Business has been exploring shifts in workforce and employer attitudes and expectations since January 2012. The tide is turning towards flexible work arrangements, it seems, but not without anxiety.
Contrary to the fantasy that working at home in pyjamas while drinking coffee and listening to music would be a dream come true, over half of the workforce respondents surveyed said they feared their productivity would fall if they were not office-based.
Employers, too, expressed concerns about flexible working, with 40% worrying that boundaries between home and work would be eroded and 50% believing that team work, which most businesses understandably value deeply, would be undermined by too many employees working away from the office at different times.
Worry and anxiety is by no means the whole story, however: 54% of the employees polled believed that the provision of flexible hours could make them more productive, not less, while 72% thought that a better work-life balance would be achieved and 75% believed flexible hours would improve job satisfaction.
70% of employers agreed that job satisfaction would probably increase with flexible hours, and slightly more employers than employees (57%) felt that productivity would increase. More than half (54%) believed that flexible hours could also help reduce costs by economising on work space.
Of course, another model of flexible working not mentioned in the report, which has none of the disadvantages of impairing team work, is to use the contracting option and hire skilled Umbrella Company Employees.