In a previous blog from flexible recruitment specialists Capability Jane, they examined how the world of work is changing. This week they’re looking at five ways in which flexible working can benefit smaller to mid-sized consultancies.
1. The labour market demographic is changing
As the labour market demographic changes so too do the needs and desires of the workforce. For non-millennials (those born before 1980), control over work, development opportunities and pay are the key drivers for work satisfaction. Millennials on the other hand (born after 1980) have different requirements. As they invariably work with less job security, retire later and do so with or without a pension, their attitudes to work have changed significantly.
PwC’s recent global generational study found that millennial employees are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life. Millennials value work/life balance and they place a high priority on workplace culture. The bigger consultancies now make sure that flexible working is a key part of their attraction and retention strategies. In fact, most millennials are not looking to work flexibly when they join a new consultancy, they just want the option to be available later on in their career. Flexibility in where they work and how much they work is a key driver in maintaining millennial satisfaction and it does not just need to be the preserve of big, global companies. We are increasingly seeing smaller and mid-sized consultancies embracing flexible working to the benefit of both staff and clients.
2. Greater retention of staff
An employee survey carried out for CIPD by Kingston University and Ipsos MORI found that workers on flexible contracts tend to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with their work, more likely to speak positively about their organization and less likely to quit. A happy workforce is key to retaining staff and offering flexible working helps employees to strike a comfortable work-life balance whilst ensuring that out of work factors, such as children or caring for family members, don’t interfere with work commitments.
3. Increased productivity
Many studies have shown a causal link between productivity and flexible working. Being able to manage one’s own time and work when inspired or unencumbered with other tasks can greatly improve efficiency and the quality of work. Smaller consultancies often pride themselves on their agility and not being as heavily encumbered by processes as huge organisations and flexible working can be another string in the bow of their offering.
Clients are also aware of these benefits. An MCA survey found that a third of clients involved in purchasing management consultancy services said that knowing a consultancy had a flexible working policy for their staff made them more likely to purchase from that consultancy.
4. Meeting customers’ needs when operating in a global or 24/7 marketplace
In the global business place the market never stops. Somewhere in the world there is always someone looking to do business. Can you afford to miss out on any business opportunities due to the 9-5 working day? Consultancies have to be particularly flexible and ready to meet client needs at any time of the day. Offering flexible working can help your workforce to meet your customers’ needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The rise of job sharing has come about, in part, to deal with the needs of clients in the global marketplace. By putting the right structure in place, documenting everything and communicating clearly, two people can easily share a customer-facing job. This ensures an employee is always contactable and ready to help.
5. Savings on overheads
Offering flexible working in the form of homeworking can make a real impact on the bottom line of smaller to mid-sized consultancies by reducing the amount spent on renting office space and energy costs. Whilst there may be an initial start-up cost to setting up working from home solutions, over a short space of time the benefits will far outweigh the initial outlay. Imagine the savings if the majority of your workforce could work from home. Even larger consultancies often only provide desk space for 80% of their employees and set up hot desks to ensure that desk space is not wasted. That could mean the difference between a good business and a great business.
These five areas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits that consultancies of any size can enjoy from offering flexible working options. As technological advancements continue to make flexible working an ever more attractive option and the demand from workers increases, flexible working is fast becoming the norm for consultancies. This trend is set to continue and there has never been a better time to consider flexible working options.
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