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Is flexible working the key to staff retention?

While nine to five office jobs are the norm, more and more people are shunning this structure in favour of more flexible hours. Keeping skilled employees on board should be a priority for any business, especially those you have invested both time and money in. Implementing the expectations of your staff can increase office morale and, most importantly, keep them from straying to another company. As the preference for flexible working continues to increase year on year, it’s time to delve into just how vital it is in terms of staff retention.

While paying a fair wage is important, studies have shown that staff value the benefit of flexible working over how much they get paid. According to Workplace Insight, 89% of employees surveyed by HSBC considered flexible hours to be a key factor in how productive they were in the office. Businesses should prioritise keeping up with the values of their employees to retain talent and the skill set they bring to the table - if you don’t offer it to your staff members, someone else will. Flexible hours can be a key part of keeping your staff happy and productive, making them less likely to stray to another company.

Technology has ironed out the initial issues mobile working may have had, offering increased communication and organisation. Totalmobile, for example, has made the management process incredibly simple with the introduction of an app. This cloud-based system that can be accessed via mobile, contains everything the employee needs to get the job done while out and about and the manager can easily track the progress.

As well as delivering precise instructions and customer notes, an easily accessible management system ensures mobile staff can still immerse themselves in the company’s culture using the many features. This means that employees can work anywhere at any time, offering the flexibility they seek while ensuring they are still very much part of the team.

The rise of mobile working could be due to a plethora of factors. People no longer see their time as money, especially when they have a family of their own. Working around an employee’s childcare hours could stop them leaving in order to care for their dependents, giving them the time they need to take care of their responsibilities while keeping up a career.

Flexible working comes in many forms, each of which can be beneficial depending on the situation. Whether you’re allowing staff to work from home on a permanent basis or sending them out to visit clients a couple of days a week, giving them the room to adjust their hours around other responsibilities can be the deciding factor of whether they stay with you or not.

Allowing your workers to choose their hours and place of work has been shown to improve productivity. It allows them to create their ideal space to work from and take more control of their time while balancing their home life. As well as improving the productivity of your current staff members, taking on a team of mobile workers allows you to cast the recruitment net a whole lot wider. You’ll be able to hire highly skilled people across the country who can work from the comfort of their own home. By allowing them to do so rather than insisting they commute, you’re cutting the risk of them leaving for a job close by.

Why is staff retention so vital? Hiring and training replacement employees can be extremely costly, plus it may take a while for them to meet your standards. In fact, a study from Oxford Economics revealed that replacing an employee who earnt £25,000 or above costs businesses an average of £30,614. This high figure shows that it's more important than ever to keep staff happy but to do so, companies must introduce new policies and implement more flexible working hours to keep up with competitors.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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