What is Flexible Working?

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 01/07/2019
flexible working

Flexible working defines a working model that accommodates employee needs. It can entail flexible work times, location and more. In this article, we want to discuss why is it important for both, employee well-being and company productivity. We are eager to introduce managers, managing directors and business owners to ways of implementing this approach. 

While some companies offered flexible working opportunities as work perks long before the infamous pandemic of our era, more organisations adopted it as a permanent business model since. The said businesses didn’t make this decision out of necessity. Rather it was done because they noticed that in the short period they experimented with the approach, it proved to have a positive impact on the well-being of the staff. It has in turn driven their productivity.

Moving forward, the companies that have fully embraced this working model are forecasted to thrive. Having had a taste of flexibility, workers are becoming vocal about their willingness to abandon their workplace if it was to force them into a rigid 9-to-5 routine again. Not to mention, the introduction of flexible working is an effective solution to a lot of budget-draining issues. Such as absenteeism or false sick leave. There are more benefits to workplace flexibility, and we will therefore discuss them in this article. We will also share some tips on how to integrate it into your business. 

What Makes Flexible Working Good?

Flexible working is mainly good as it keeps employees happy. And happy employees are known to be more productive. This is proven by the study conducted by the University of Oxford. It was discovered that 13% of the staff reported being more eager to achieve results when untroubled. While happiness may mean different things to different people, it’s in human nature to experience it upon knowing you’re cared for. And offering flexible working is one of the ways an employer can express their care for the workers.

Whether it’s enabling flexible work hours, a hybrid office, permanent remote working or a combination of these, putting the employee in control of their work rhythm will certainly improve personal performance. It means each worker can adjust their day to their personal preferences, mental health, family life. These and other factors would otherwise be neglected in a 9-to-5 model. Such fluidity can also benefit in terms of solving issues such as frequent absence. Mostly because it’s often due to childcare or home life issues, transportation costs and many others. All in all, flexibility is crucial for your business to thrive. 

Flexible Hours for Improved Productivity

Every person has individual peak times when it comes to productivity. And to some, that time window is outside the traditional 9-to-5. When you offer your employees flexible hours, you allow them to adjust their workflows to their personal work rhythm. In other words, instead of pushing themselves and risking either burnout or procrastination, they get the opportunity to work hours when they are most productive . And hence improving individual performance. 

Striking the Work-Life Balance is a Challenge

New research from CIPD, cited by People Management, has found that poor work-life balance is an issue for UK employees in particular. Many employees quizzed by CIPD admitted that their job made it difficult for them to switch off out-of-hours, It has also disrupted their family life. The research uncovered high levels of work intensity, which has a direct correlation with high-stress levels among employees. Just over two in ten (22%) employees said they always or often felt exhausted in the office. The same percentage felt under excessive pressure.

Work-life balance has been a hotly debated topic in recent years. Achieving that golden middle is easier said than done. But it is something many employers across all industries are working hard to promote within their organisations. It’s a subject that’s finally being taken seriously, and that’s good news. One conclusion the working world was able to come to is that flexible working hours greatly contribute towards establishing the said balance. Since the employees have control over the hours they work, they can adjust their work time to the hours when they are ready to carry out their duties. They are also able to tune out when their productivity wanes off. 

Employee Wellbeing and Office Culture

According to Workplace Insights, over 39% of surveyed workers agreed that workplace flexibility had a positive impact on their mental health. This is barely surprising as this means the employees wouldn’t be roped into a standard model that doesn’t take into consideration their mood, needs or simply having a bad day. With that said, it is also easily deduced that rigid working models lead to more frequent burnouts.  This happens as the workers are treated more as a hive mind instead of individuals with their personal preferences and needs.

Some would argue that introduction flexibility may have negative impacts on office culture. For example, in a hybrid office, some of the employees on the same team would never meet face-to-face. Or, when utilising flexible hours, two people who need to communicate simply wouldn’t work the same timeframes. These and other scenarios are easily avoided by thinking your flexibility strategy through. Then communicating clear guidelines to your teams. Full independence may lead to chaos, But if you have a specific approach in place, such as work hours having to be anytime in the 8 AM - 8 PM time brackets, it will work out. Similarly how happy employees will have more energy and motivation to work, they will less likely to be grumpy and more willing to collaborate with their colleagues. In other words, when done right, flexibility drives office culture. 

Hybrid Office of the Future

Flexibility isn’t limited to hours your employees work - but also where they can work from. Prior to the pandemic, remote working was a job perk most companies wouldn’t utilise. However, as restrictions were getting lifted and offices could only be re-populated with a limited number of employees, hybrid workplaces surfaced. Although originally they were the means to adapt, it soon became evident that this work model is here to stay. Many workers are now expressing determination to leave the job if the hybrid approach is revoked. It is therefore unlikely the office-based work landscape is going back to what it used to be. Let’s talk about why it is actually a good thing.

Smooth Collaboration Workflows

At first glance, collaboration may seem more complicated when your staff work from different locations and run on different work hours. However, it’s proven that hybrid working leads to better collaboration with fewer roadblocks. One of the reasons is that flexibility requires the adoption of easily accessible software. It often is a great centralised platform for real-time work collaborations.

This is why SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions are so popular. Due to them being web browser-based, it means they can be accessed from anywhere and from any device, as long as the user has internet access. Additionally, they most often come with a plethora of automation functions. Such in turn enables smooth task handover and partial to full automation of the entire process. Unlike workflows that are carried over emails or calls, the SaaS-based collaborations keep a record of messages exchanged, edits made and who were those actions performed by. Additionally, it’s easy to reverse these changes if needed. Whereas, for example, if an excel file was changed and saved, it’s close to impossible to revert to the earlier versions. SaaS platforms can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously and the workflows built through them are only limited by the software’s individual functionality and the user’s creativity. 

Constant Stream of Valuable Insights

Not only are SaaS tools valuable for team alignment, communication and collaboration, but also for collecting and recording data. The workflows, especially those involving automation, are a goldmine of insights that is simply unavailable otherwise. Most solutions also come with sleek dashboards that portray the collected data in a visual, easily digestible format. You can therefore choose time periods you want to analyse, specific areas of the business to monitor and many more. Not to mention, you can add more layers of functionality to your software. When it’s done either via utilising previously unused features or by linking it with other solutions via integrations, the volume and depth of insights collected will only grow.

The best thing is that the data you record is very actionable. Depending on its nature, you can make changes based on it and deliver immediate results. For example, when you start using Timesheet Portal, you may be given visibility of some of your staff members having a pattern of absences. And therefore address it with them before it causes financial damage to your business. Once you adjust your strategy in regards to the data previously collected, you’re bound to start collecting different kinds of insights tied to the new strategy  Which will again award you with new information that will drive the optimisation of your business processes.

Embracing the Future 

Flexible working isn’t a fad - it surfaced as a necessity and has proven to be a much better approach to work than the traditional office-based nine-to-five model, effectively replacing it. Both workers and employers have discovered multiple benefits of this innovative approach and therefore it’s unlikely we will ever go back to the rigid pre-covid work model. With that said, it’s best you start adapting your company to a flexible future now as this will give you an upper hand moving forward. 

Flexitime in Timesheet Portal

Working with a variety of clients across different industries, we know the true value of flexibility. This is why flexitime is among the most prized features of Timesheet Portal. Our software is generally designed for the user to build and customise processes to meet their unique and specific needs. And thus it’s a great tool for companies that are seeking to adopt a more flexible approach.

Similarly to other functionality found in Timesheet Portal, the flexitime module accommodates a variety of functions. These enable you to control the level of flexibility suitable for your business.  From a flexitime pool tracker to time-off approval and configurable flexitime rules, we hand you the reigns as we pull the carriage in a direction of your preference. Whether you’re looking for a solution to manage flexible working hours or a platform to support a hybrid working office, Timesheet Portal’s flexitime module is more than capable to accommodate. 


Although formerly seen as a nice work perk, flexible working has become very important for the work landscape of today. This approach became mandatory for businesses to live through the pandemic-instilled regulations. It also became known how tightly flexibility is tied to employee performance and productivity. The flaws of the 9-to-5 office cubicle approach are nothing new, but now that we have a functional alternative.

Additionally, the promise of flexibility has now become one of the factors on which your talent attraction and retention will depend. The workers, having tasted the freedom of choosing their working hours and location, now view flexible working as a necessity, not a perk. All in all, it’s evident that the work landscape has evolved. Companies that refuse to adapt to the change aren’t likely to last. Given there are a lot many more cons than pros in adding fluidity to your company’s business model, we strongly encourage businesses to be early adopters. The quicker you embrace the new normal, the more ahead of the competitors will you be.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.