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Failing to Flex Means Everyone's Missing Out

It’s clear from our conversations about life and work in the 21st Century with peers, friends and contacts working in all types of sectors, that all of us; women, men, with/without children and, especially Millennials, want flexibility and fluidity in the workplace to allow for a better balance of work and personal time. We want our performance and career progression to be judged on competence, motivation and productivity rather than number of hours worked.

We’ve worked with phenomenal colleagues and clients who are committed, focused and immensely productive on a 3-day week so have seen at least one flexible model work. Yet, many businesses seem to be stuck in a cultural rut littered with beliefs like:

  • Senior positions are ‘always on’; they’re for full-timers only

  • Working part-time puts you on a career plateau

  • Asking for flexible terms is ‘career suicide’

Oddly, we find ourselves in businesses run by the very people who want flexibility, yet they are unable to design new ways of working that could unlock workers’ happiness, well-being and willingness to go the extra mile. By hanging on to the old ways, businesses are losing ‘lifetime value’.

These Millennial Stats indicate that this is not a marginal issue but a key driver of attracting and keeping talent as well as getting the best out of the workforce:

  • 70% want flexible working options

  • 82% would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.

  • 34% have left a job because the employer did not provide flexibility.

Isn’t it time we all started to challenge the old working culture? Why do senior positions need to be full-time? Why is working part-time seen as less committed and worthy of responsibility? Let’s challenge our own thinking and that of our employers to create new ways of working that will enable employees to thrive and businesses to succeed.

If you want more flex, define a win:win proposition and put it to your business

If you’re ambitious and part-time, put together a plan for your promotion

If you’re a boss, look candidly at the people within your teams. Could you unlock more talent, goodwill and success by being less traditional, more inventive?

As always, we’d love to hear your views and experiences – especially if you’ve found a way to flex and everyone’s getting value…

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