Flexible working is considered important by 86% of both B2B and B2C marketers, yet only 38.3% of them are offered the choice in their current roles.
Lancaster University’s Work Foundation 2015 report “Working Anywhere: A Winning Formula for Good Work?” predicted flexible working will be the main way of working for 70% of organisations by 2020. Given the options available and the proven advantages to businesses, it is surprising that so few marketers are being presented with the opportunity today.
The current marketing recruitment market finds employers in strong competition with each other for the top talent. In such a highly competitive environment, can you afford to ignore the importance placed on flexible working by your candidates? In fact, 22% of B2C female marketers suggest that they would consider moving roles for this key benefit alone.
The benefits are well established from both the employee and employer’s perspective. Employees feel more valued and that it was essential for their work life balance, where as employers see a proven increase in productivity, improved employee morale and ultimately better employee retention.
On the other hand, there are barriers to change that must be recognised. Many managers feel it will cause a disconnect from their teams and longer hours, whilst others felt that it would be a block from overseeing employee’s work.
It is worth remembering however, there are many different ways to structure flexible working; it doesn’t always have to be the mobile option, or part time.
- Flexible start / finish times. A common issue for working parents juggling full time jobs and managing the school run. An early or late start can make an enormous difference to an employee whilst the employer still gets the benefit of a full working week.
- Compressing daily hours. Some companies do offer the option to work full time hours compressed into four days. Whilst this is a demanding option for employees and must be considered carefully, it can help to juggle personal obligations whilst still delivering a full time option.
- Four day week. A reduced working week can be a tricky option but can be very successful if carefully managed. Many employees who take it up complain of working “five days in four” but receiving a pro-rata salary. Whilst this might be a plus on the surface for an employer it can lead to employee resentment, decreased morale and burnout.
- Mobile working. With today’s technology there is nothing to prevent employees working remotely. A day or two at home a week can actually help employees to be more productive whilst managing their own personal obligations (note that combining home working with childcare is not what we are suggesting here!).
Being able to offer options to potential candidates will present you as an employer who values their employees and wants to actively work with them to achieve the best work life balance. It is important to be able to sell these benefits to potential marketing candidates so ensure that you brief your consultancy fully on the options so that this can form part of their candidate presentation.