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Flexible working: Finding the right balance

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We all need flexibility every now and then and so in 2014 legislation changed to allow every UK worker with more than 26 weeks service the right to request flexible working from their employer. Since then, several surveys on flexible working have been conducted and the results are overwhelmingly positive.  Benefits include a better work-life balance, improved productivity, a reduction in absenteeism, greater autonomy and reduced costs for companies. Research carried out by Lancaster University has found that flexible working arrangements will be more common place in 2017 than being office-based and within 4 years over 70% of companies will have fully embraced mobile working. It is no longer the case that every employee has to be in the office to be productive, however to ensure workers are able to achieve the same output at home as in the office it is vital that companies have the correct technology in place.  Providing fast and secure access to remote networks is crucial. While for many the benefits far outweigh the negatives, there are a few issues that can arise from flexible working.  For some employees social interaction is important and they can feel disconnected from their team.  Managers may also feel unable to effectively oversee their workforce when not in the office and some may find they work a longer day when at home than the traditional 9am-5pm. Flexible working is all about finding the right balance for you and the company for which you work.  The potential benefits to both employee and employer as a result of flexible working are well known and when done effectively it can be to everyone’s advantage.  After all, a flexible workforce is a happier and more productive one.