Why more Companies and Boards should embrace Flexible Working

Flexible working seems to be a rather contentious and confusing issue for both Employees and Employers at the moment. Most recently, Eliza Khuner, a data scientist at Facebook, decided to quit her job after her request to work remotely and part-time was denied. Her case, and how it was handled, even by a company as large and innovative as Facebook, demonstrated why it is so difficult to ensure more people with different lifestyles advance up the corporate ranks.

It is important to understand that today, both men and women are struggling to maintain a balance between lifestyle and work-life. For example, either gender could be the primary carer for an elderly parent or a young child and is facing a shift in work-life balance priorities, where work may become the casualty. Having more flexibility at work would help.

Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of flexible working opportunities. This lack is certainly one of the main reasons for a lower presence of women in senior jobs, where the culture still dictates that you must turn up to work every day and stay in post. However, more opportunities for flexible working would benefit all employees, regardless of gender, and eventually benefit the Company too.

More parents would remain in the workplace, leading to a wider range of experience and diversity of background at the Company. There would be a higher level of employee satisfaction, with the knowledge and security that they do not have to be seen in the office 24/7 in order to be successful at work

The Director at Fortitude Dynamics Group wrote earlier this week [https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6470693161478946816] about the need to have a diverse and balanced company, which grows and prospers through the ideology of having different experiences and backgrounds, allowing all employees to bring the best of themselves into work.

Companies like Facebook could be the leaders in creating innovative working environments. Larger companies may have the resources to create and implement better leave options and flexibility in working hours, so employees don’t have to choose between their lifestyle and careers. They should be trying to lead by example.

There is constant criticism towards Companies needing to hire more women and pushing the need to find more resourceful employees. However, most Companies, especially in male-dominated fields such as finance, technology and engineering, are still far from reaching hiring parity. Again, could this be down to a lack of flexible working opportunities?

Recent reports show that in the UK, only 22% of senior leadership roles are held by women and almost 80% of companies still pay men more than women. Contributing factors to these depressing statistics include inflexible working.

Yet research shows that some of Britain’s most successful companies tend to have a large proportion of women in senior management roles.

Dame Vivian Hunt, from McKinsey UK, said: “The correlation between diversity and financial performance is clear across different sectors and geographies: more diverse teams equals significant financial out-performance.”

It is clear then, that a Company’s success and fortunes are based on their ability to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. Encouraging and enabling diversity and offering more flexible working options will help in this task.

At Fortitude Dynamics Group, we encourage the need for Companies to re-think their working policies. We do not believe that anyone, whether employee or Director, should have to choose between their families and their careers. Although we are a small Company, flexible working options are available to everyone, and we can say from experience that this hasn’t affected productivity, enthusiasm or creativity in the slightest!

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