Monthly Archives: October 2014

Protecting Business Productivity with Agile Working

Avoid Threats Posed by Further Strikes with Flexible Working

After recent news of the threat of London tube strikes, there are fears that further rows could erupt, with the potential to cause maximum disruption and widespread chaos.

A strike planned for 14th October by London Underground workers in a dispute over austerity led cuts was abandoned after last-ditch talks. The breakthrough was made after ‘substantial progress’ was made by  the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in the ongoing issue of cuts and Tube ticket office closures

But does this mark the end of the dispute? According to some, it is unlikely that this is the end of the matter. Despite negotiations, the threat of disruptive industrial action still looms large.

The possibility of strike action strengthens the case for flexible working. With new technology, employees are more and more able to work remotely, including from their own homes. This, coupled with new statistics on the efficacy of flexible working further questions the relevancy of the traditional office in a digital age.

These recent events (and June’s changes to flexible working) show that it is high time for businesses to reassess, and view flexible working as a means of protecting their business from the chaos that would result from transport strikes, while simultaneously building an infrastructure which promotes growth.

Strikes aside, it was estimated by the CEBR that drivers in London spent more than 250 hours idling in traffic in 2013 and this was likely to increase to 299 hours by 2030, equivalent to 40 working days a year, suggesting that increased agile working would help to improve the productivity of workers affected by transport difficulties.

Homeworking/remote working refers to work done at home, or outwith the primary office environment. However, remote working may also refer to situations where only part of an employee’s workload is completed outside of the office. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that a degree of remote working could be introduced into the majority of employees’ schedules.

For businesses wishing to check up on the productivity of their workers, there are monitoring systems in place and this can reassure employers. There is also much to be said about the cost-effective nature of remote working. In a recent study by Deloitte it was found that 30 to 40 percent of physical working environment are vacant at any given moment on an average business day. Decrease reliance on offices and cut overhead costs unnecessary costs. There is even evidence that allow workers greater flexibility will boost productivity. Finally, increased flexible working could also be beneficial for the environment, in that cutting commuter traffic in busy cities would dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

While no-one can say for sure whether or not the threat of London Tube Strikes has subsided, now certainly seems like a good time for employees to take into account the diverse benefits that remote working can bring.

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Flexible Working for 50+ Individuals: 4 Things You Should Know

Last week, the Flexiworkforce team were lucky enough to attend the 50+ Show. We were unique in that while most of the other exhibitors were showcasing holidays and leisure and household products, we were encouraging attendees to consider supplementing their retirement income with flexible working.

Many of the attendees were confident in their skills and abilities, yet acknowledged that there is a distinct lack of support for older workers who are interested in opting for flexible working, either pre- or post- retirement.

Others were interested in the idea but feared that they would be rejected outright on the grounds of their age.

Overall, we were very impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the people we spoke to, including their willingness to consider new, modern ways of working. Here are the top 4 things we learned.

The over 50s are a key driving force behind the rise of flexible working in the UK

While older workers may not always feel ahead of the next tech trend in the office, they are in fact championing a new working culture in the UK through working flexibly. ‘Flexible working’ can refer to any working pattern outwith the typical Monday to Friday 9 till 5 and can include part-time, shift work, working from home and job sharing.

On average, workers in their 60s reject the typical 35 hours for a much more manageable 24, offering both a secure income and time to socialise outside of work.

The over 50s want and  need flexible work, but have been largely cut off from it. Until now.

While flexible working can be seen as the solution for older workers wishing to stagger their retirement with further employment, finding quality job vacancies that can offer flexible hours can be difficult.  CEO and founder Tracey Eker sought to rectify this problem by launching Flexiworkforce.com as the only UK-wide job site dedicated to flexible jobs.

Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who working but would like the chance to also enjoy their life a bit more. There are many long-term unemployed workers who have been out of the workforce because of a lack of adequate flexible working but employers are actually desperate for their skills. Through Flexiworkforce these two groups can reach each other!

Many feel a lack of support in coming back to the workforce.

The over 50s are an invaluable talent pool which remains sorely underutilised by western society. The societal problem of ageism means that older workers often have a hard time getting into jobs that they are deemed ‘overqualified’ for, others feel forced out of a job before they’re ready. While ageism remains a serious issue, there is very little data available to quantify the issue.

However, many enlightened employers are keen to hire individuals over the age of 50, such as the banking group Santander, who are keen that their staff reflect the diverse age-mix of their customers.

 Flexible working- a good balance:

In recent years there has been something of a mindshift in the way we view retirement. Many choose to reject a traditional retirement in favour of flexible employment, some choosing to never fully retire. As average life-expectancy continues to increase worldwide, the multi-generational workforce will become increasingly diverse, with older workers being highly sought after for their skills and experience.

Flexibility should be the goal for over fifties aiming to retain their independence, or perhaps even strike out on a new career path, without having to endure the taxing demands of a full-time career or conventional working hours.

50 +

How To Boost Your Income With A Flexible Retirement

The Over 50s are flying the flag for flexible working

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With the cost of living rising for everyone, many retirees today are worried that their pensions may not be enough for them to enjoy their retirement. This uncertainty is also reflected in employment figures as only 38% of those above the state pension age are in fact fully retired. With the number of over-65 works doubling in the last decade alone, finding a rewarding job that offers the chance to also enjoy your life is no small task.

While older workers may not always feel ahead of the next tech trend in the office, they are in fact championing a new working culture in the UK through working flexibly. ‘Flexible working’ can refer to any working pattern outwith the typical Monday to Friday 9 till 5 and can include part-time, shift work, working from home and job sharing, all options very popular with workers in their 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, workers in their 60s reject the typical 35 hours for a much more manageable 24, offering both a secure income and time to socialise outside of work.

While flexible working can be seen as the solution for older workers wishing to stagger their retirement with further employment, finding quality job vacancies that can offer flexible hours can be difficult.  Following her own struggle to find flexible work after having twins, businesswoman Tracey Eker sought to rectify this problem by launching Flexiworkforce.com, the only UK-wide job site dedicated to flexible jobs.

Discussing the potential of flexible working to empower older workers, Tracey Eker asserts that, ‘Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who working but would like the chance to also enjoy their life a bit more. There are many long-term unemployed workers who have been out of the workforce because of a lack of adequate flexible working but employers are actually desperate for their skills. Through Flexiworkforce we can connect these groups!

Flexiworkforce will be attending the upcoming ‘The 50+ Show’ in Glasgow this month as well as giving presentations on the potential of flexible working for older workers, including discussion with Jo Swinson, Cabinet Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, and the banking chain Santander.