Flexibility a hot topic that shows no signs of cooling down
When the CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer ordered employees to work back in the office instead of telecommuting earlier this year it made headlines around the world from leading business magazines to news websites and women’s magazines.
As reported in Issue 5 of the Hays Journal, Ms Mayer was criticised by such business luminaries as Sir Richard Branson and applauded by business academics who pointed out that her strategy of bringing disengaged staff back to office was the only way to drive an “underperforming and underachieving” Yahoo! back onto the road to success.
The annual Hays Salary Guide surveyed more than 1,200 employers on a range of issues including their attitude to workplace flexibility. Hays found 52 per cent of employers across Asia offer some form of flexible work practices.
Of those employers that do offer flexibility, 49 per cent offered telecommuting or flex-place options, 34 per cent part time employment and 71 per cent flexible working hours. Other arrangements included flexible leave (11 per cent), job sharing (15 per cent), career breaks (13 per cent) and phased retirement (2 per cent).
“Our research shows that most employers understand that offering flexible working arrangements is part of a modern workplace,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.
“While flexible work was once pretty much the exclusive domain of employees with care giving responsibilities, today a wider range of employees want to access flexible work arrangements for a greater number of reasons,” he says.
“There are definitely pros and cons to offering workplace flexibility so the answer lies in taking a balanced approach. On the plus side, employers can use their willingness and ability to offer flexible work to drive attraction and retention of talented employees as well as staff engagement but on the down side managing a workforce that is not all at work at the same time takes greater effort.”
“But overall, we believe that flexible work is here to stay and that it offers the potential for productivity gains and greater levels of employee engagement which both boost a company’s bottom line while also offering benefits to the national economy.”
According to Hays, the benefits of flexible work arrangements include:
- Ability to attract and retain talented employees who want or need to access flexible work arrangements;
- Greater employee engagement and productivity as flexible workers need to stay focused to get all their work completed;
- Benefits to the bottom line achieved through less staff turnover and time wasted at work;
- Building a “give-take” company culture that values the different needs of its employees.
According to Hays, the challenges of flexible work arrangements include:
- Arranging meetings with employees working part-time or flexible hours;
- Managing performance fairly across full-time and part-time employees;
- Providing access to development and promotion opportunities to employees working flexibly;
- Building the company’s culture when not all employees work together all the time.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
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Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.
Hays Specialist Recruitment (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.
Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,800 staff operating from 245 offices across 33 countries.
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