As an employer, a key goal is to attract and retain great talent and a known strategy to achieve this is flexible working. If you are already dabbling with flexible working or plan to, do yourself a favour and read this article on British Telecom’s flexible working strategy, Agile Working. Agile working is like flexible working on steroids and that’s not just referring to the freedom it offers employees, but the returns it can offer employers.
Agility is flexibility’s buffed-up, more cocksure cousin. In essence, agile working is flexible working that is extremely flexible.
Key Flexible Working Takeaways
- BT’s agile working initiative is based on the idea that the old conception of the office is dead. A wasted hour commuting each way everyday, one-person-one-desk, telephones tethered to desks, a heavy reliance on face-to-face meetings, territoriality, status hierarchies and an obsession with presenteeism: all have been jettisoned.
- Agility is based on the premise that you will get the best out of people by freeing them. The theory is that people achieve most when they feel most in control of their work.
- Let people look at Facebook, let people cut the commute out when they can, free them up to sit in the part of the office that best suits the task that they are performing and (however counter-intuitively) they will work more productively.
- When the need for them (employees) to appear to be doing their job disappears, they find themselves free from distractions (like hierarchy, the phoney work-life divide, and the stress of the tube) and better able to actually do their job.
- And in the next six years the telecoms behemoth is aiming to increase its people per workstation ratio from 1.1 to 1.6, a move that would see 23,000 workstations eliminated in the UK. The reduction is a necessary precursor to a considerable reduction in the company’s gargantuan 75.3 million sq ft (property) portfolio
- For a long time the utilities sector had a poor reputation for productivity, but agile working has had a powerful and measurable effect. Some workers have shown a 30 per cent increase in productivity after they transitioned to flexible work methods.
- The UK average rate for staff returning after maternity leave is 40 per cent. At BT that figure is now an almost implausible 99 per cent; and when mothers are asked why they come back they point to the agile working initiative
- The impact on stress has been almost as dramatic. Stress-related illness is down by 35 per cent. The number of sick days taken has fallen, overall staff retention has improved and the calibre of graduate applicants has increased
- The impact is already being felt. Last year remote conferencing helped BT to reduce its carbon footprint by 97,000 tonnes. Estimates suggest that if just 10 per cent of EU workers adopted flexible working practices the annual saving in carbon emissions would be 22.17 million tonnes.
If you are an employer, surely these numbers can’t be ignored. If you are interested in finding out more about implementing an “agile” or flexible working program into your business, there are businesses that specialise in readying businesses to move into this space. Email us for more details.
If you are a jobseeker, a mum or a dad and know any employers not yet offering flexible working solutions, please share this with them. If they implement an “agile” or flexible working program, they will add to their bottom line, help to improve the environment and improve the lives of the people that work for them. If that’s not a WIN-WIN then I don’t know what is!
PS: You can read the entire article here – http://www.fmlink.com/a/30998