Flexibility is Key: How Adopting Flexible Work Arrangements Can Benefit Your Business

The Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 was signed into law by the President on the 4th April this year. The legislation has been greeted with widespread approval, with the Minister stating that it represents “the importance of family life and an improved quality of life for all workers, by supporting employees to achieve a better balance between their home lives and work lives”.

Amongst many provisions of the Act, lays the right to request flexible working for parents and carers. Employees who are parents of children up to the age of 12 or those who need to provide care or support to individuals such as spouses, civil partners, co-habitants, parents, grandparents, siblings, or other household members, will have the right to request flexible working arrangements for caregiving purposes once the act has commenced.

Flexible work arrangements have emerged as a popular solution to address the growing significance of work-life balance for employees.   There is a possibility to further extend flexible work to all workers following a review of the legislation in two years. 

Flexibility at Work

What flexible work arrangements will suit your employees and your business?

Flexible working refers to a variety of arrangements that allow employees to have more control over their work schedules or work location. The following are some examples of flexible work arrangements to consider:

Flexitime allows employees to choose when they start and end their workday. For example, an employee might work from 7am-3pm instead of the traditional 9am-5pm. This may allow a parent the flexibility to collect children from school which in turn saves on childcare costs.

Remote and Hybrid Working allows employees to work from home instead of coming into the office every day. This can save employees time and money on commuting and allow them to work in a more comfortable environment.  Under the new legislation an employee may request approval from their employer for a remote working arrangement provided they have completed 6 months of continuous service.

A Compressed Workweek allows employees to work the same number of hours as a traditional workweek but over fewer days. For example, on 1st May of this year, recruitment for a new four-day working week pilot programme was launched to coincide with International Workers’ Day. Companies and organisations of all sizes from every sector were encouraged to join the trial which is based on the ‘100-80-100 model’ where workers get 100% of their pay, for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output. Also in recent news, Kellogg Ireland have shortened their working week for the summer months. They announced that the summer hours scheme was returning for its Irish workforce. The scheme offers office-based and field sales staff the chance to finish work from midday on a Friday, provided they have completed a full week’s hours and have met all customer commitments where relevant. The scheme runs every year from May to September.

Job Sharing is another type of flexible working and allows two employees to share one full-time job, splitting the duties and responsibilities between them. This can allow employees to achieve a better work-life balance.

And finally, Part-Time Work allows employees to work fewer hours per week than a full-time job. This can allow employees to pursue other interests or take care of family obligations while still earning a paycheck.

What are the benefits to the Organisation?

Flexible work arrangements offer a multitude of benefits for both employers and employees. Firstly, they significantly boost productivity by allowing employees to work in a manner that suits their preferences and personal circumstances. This can lead to a higher quality of work and thus improved business outcomes.

Secondly, flexible work can contribute to a positive work environment and improved employee morale. By accommodating work-life balance needs, employers demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and satisfaction, resulting in stronger relationships between managers and their teams.

Flexible work arrangements play a crucial role in retaining top talent. When employees have the opportunity to work in a way that aligns with their needs, it fosters loyalty and therefore reduces the need for new recruitment and training costs.

Additionally, offering flexibility widens the pool of candidates. Skilled professionals who may be unable to work traditional schedules or commute to an office location can be attracted. This can help promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture by acknowledging and supporting employees with varied requirements and backgrounds.

What are the benefits for the Employee?

Flexible work arrangements offer employees the opportunity to strike a better balance between their work responsibilities and personal life commitments, such as caring for children or elderly family members. It grants them greater control over their work schedule, potentially reducing stress and burnout and ultimately improving their mental and physical health.

When employees can work in a way that aligns with their needs, they tend to be more satisfied with their job and the company they work for. This heightened satisfaction often translates into increased loyalty and higher retention rates.

One of the remarkable benefits of flexible work arrangements is that they afford employees more time to pursue their hobbies or personal interests outside of work. This freedom fosters overall wellbeing and enhances job satisfaction.

The option to work remotely or on a flexible schedule brings about substantial advantages. Employees can save both time and money by reducing commuting expenses, alleviating the associated stress that comes with commuting.

In essence, flexible work arrangements create a win-win situation for both employers and employees. There are many reasons to consider adopting flexible work arrangements in your organisation which will result in heightened productivity, improved work-life balance, and reduced costs for both parties involved. Embracing flexibility benefits both employers and employees, making it a valuable approach in today’s evolving work landscape.

If you are interested in implementing flexible work arrangements in your company, the Action HR Services team would be happy to guide you to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

Get in touch with Action HR Services if you would like further information on the services we offer. Our HR Specialists are happy to support you in your HR business needs.

The information in this article is provided as part of the Action HR Services Blog. Specific queries should be directed to a member of the Action HR Services Team and it is recommended that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article. This article is correct on 23/05/2023.