Tara Burns

No more 9 – 5: Robust issues, flexible solutions

Posted on 24th November 2014 by Tara Burns

Dolly Parton 9 – 5

The 9 – 5 working day is dying a slow death. Business has changed and the evolution of technology has meant companies are being stretched to provide a more flexible service – especially in creative consulting industries like corporate communications.

Businesses in all sectors have caught flexi-fever and this month, The Agile Future Forum – a group of the UK’s most high-profile companies have called on employers to adopt more agile working practices to help boost business as well as the economy.

Whilst I’m in complete support of flexible working benefits, some people might ask the questions, ‘how can we ensure work is being done?’ or ‘how can we work as a team if we’re not in the same office’. These points are understandable, but when taking a closer look at the objectors’ issues, they are quickly dispelled.

There are already blurred boundaries to how we work. The days of the traditional working day are coming to an end and if businesses are restricted by time, they will lose out.

For instance, time zones have required multi-national companies to compromise and work in tandem with their international counterparts. Those who need to travel can utilise time that previously would have been wasted. For our industry, the strategists and thinkers can make the most their best hours when they’re most creative – we can’t all be morning people.

In addition, flexible working encourages increased productivity. Research by Microsoft suggests 70% of British workers feel more productive away from the office and if people are able to choose where and when they work best, they can get the most output from their working hours. Creative work requires headspace and this isn’t always achievable in the office between nine and five.

Of course there are also huge benefits to the employees themselves being given the freedom to work to their own schedule. Feeling valued and instilled with a sense of responsibility and trust can provide anyone with the welcome motivation to work hard, achieve results and give back with loyalty.

It’s also nice to spend time in the office – especially one as funky as ours!  There are times when I need to be around my teams, feel part of the group, bounce around ideas and feed off their energy; team work is an essential part of the job.

But in general, we need the freedom to choose how and when is appropriate and necessary to work like this, and flexibility is the answer. All UK businesses should catch some flexi-fever and become part of the trend to help end the oppressive reign of the 9 – 5.

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