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Research by Bain & Company in Australia suggests that men may be struggling with flexible working. The research, based on a decent sample of 1,030 flexible workers found women strongly positive about arrangements but men distinctly less so.
Men cited worries about career advancement and being judged by other workers amongst their negative feelings.
The research found strong evidence of improved employee-NPS score for organisations who had a widespread culture of flexible working, averaging +16 where flexible arrangements are widely used to -44 where they were not available.
Interestingly across both male and female groups, only about a third chose to do flexible working because of career responsibilities, another third for “seeking work-life balance” and another third for “various reasons including volunteering.” Overall, it’s an interesting and punchy report with case studies that I’d encourage you to read in full - you can download it from the Chief Executive Women website here.
Here at Reward Gateway I see first hand the access to talent that a sensible approach to flexible working gives us. We need to find the best people we can to do an amazing job for our clients and build value for our shareholders - that means we don't have room for dogma or inventing silly rules or having presenteeism that gets in the way of finding the best people and applying them to our challenges.
Let me give you some examples.
Our UK Managing Director, Joe Gaunt, lives in Leeds and works in London Monday to Wednesday, and from home most Thursdays and Fridays. Our Group Reward Director Debra Corey is based at home near Leicester and works whatever hours she feels she needs to get the job done. Chief Product Officer Richard Hurd-Wood is hands on with his teams Monday - Thursday and then travels home to his family in Portsmouth on Thursday nights. This goes on throughout our organisation and at all levels. In a fast-growing business we have enough challenges externally without making more for ourselves internally by glueing people to chairs in offices for fixed hours. If I’m honest I feel companies who don’t think the same probably have too much time on their hands or haven’t set their goals high enough.
Flexible working is where employees have reasonable control and autonomy over where they work and when.
Flexible workers can bunch hours on to a fewer number of days per week, shift hours onto a weekend or take gaps during the working day filled in by extra hours in the evening. This can be attractive to many different people including those with carer responsibilities or people trying to fit in other non-work activity.