There is nothing more appealing to employees than the option to have some flexibility to allow for real work/life balance. Whether that is the option to start early or later, work from home, job-share or make the most of summer hours by having every Friday off. Chances are if your employee is happy then it can only benefit your business, and if offering flexible working is one of the ways to achieve it, then surely it’s a no-brainer?
Our 10 corporate wellness experts who represent a wide range of health and wellness businesses across the world explain why companies should be offering flexibility in the workplace.
At Perkbox we aim to provide flexibility because we are not only looking for technical skills we are looking for people who act with authenticity. To bring this into an organisation you have to be able to give employees freedom to be and give their best. If we want people to flourish we need to provide flexibility in how they complete work in an environment that suits their working style. Some people work better in quiet spaces, others interacting socially with colleagues, others working from home. That’s why ultimately it comes down to flexibility – letting them do what works best for them and trusting that great things will happen if you do.
Shaun Bradley, Director of People at Perkbox.
True flexibility is very hard to find. Myself and our Founder, Glenn Elliott, are extremely passionate about this and you can find it discussed within his new book, Build it: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement. Whilst some organisations claim a flexible working culture, in reality, this is not always the case. We’re a global organisation, employing a diverse workforce and flexible working promotes the best commitment you can find. By allowing someone true flexibility, needing to go on a call late evening or early morning is not seen as an “ask”, it’s embraced as part of work life integration. It’s ok for me to be on a call tomorrow morning at 5am because I know that when I need to nip out at 3pm to pick up my kids from school, it’s ok! Being flexible allows us to recruit and retain the best people for the job and create amazing work ethic and commitment.
Lucy Tallick, Head of Wellbeing at Reward Gateway.
It’s simple really. From a business perspective we need to be flexible to meet our customers’ needs. From a people perspective our people live busy, diverse lives, so helping them flourish is about being flexible. This involves keeping communication open about people’s home and family commitments, their academic and sporting commitments and even their hobbies, all of which impact their mental and physical wellbeing. Technology is a great enabler. Live chat platforms allow customers to contact us when they want, while smart communication allows our people to blend being a part of an awesome company with their personal commitments.
Sam Fromson, Co-founder of Yulife.
Successful employers learn to iterate and adapt all elements of their business to optimize for success. This is no different in employee wellness programs. As employers digest feedback and analytics from existing programs, having a flexible solution allows them to make adjustments and improvements continuously. Also, a flexible solution allows employees to also adapt to the program, providing more opportunities to engage.
Nick Patel, CEO of Wellable.
Simply put: flexibility shows employees you care and recognise they have a life outside of work. More and more we are learning employees’ personal lives impact them at work, so it benefits employers to give staff the tools they need to bend and flex their work lives with the demands of their personal lives. Flexibility implies trust – that you trust your employee to make the best decision for their professional lives as possible – and most employees are grateful for autonomy and it empowers them to work when they’re most productive.
Liz Walker, HR Director, Unum UK.
First and foremost: Corporate wellness needs to be fun. A lack of flexibility creates boredom at best and a total lack of engagement, at worst. In order to design creative and dynamic programs, a corporate wellness provider needs to be flexible, and mix up programming over time. After all, wellness trends change, and people do too. Plus, people need to change-up and increase intensity in their fitness programs in order to continue to improve their health. A third-party wellness provider, such as Fitspot, will enable your team to adjust your programming to changing desires of your time.
Sammy Courtright, founder and CEO of Fitspot Wellness.
Flexibility is a key tool for supporting work/life balance and avoiding employee burnout. At Nuffield Health we aim to provide an environment which helps employees as far as possible to balance their home and work life. We understand there may come a time when the need to make changes to working arrangements because of caring responsibilities or simply because it suits personal circumstances. To support our employees, our organisation offers a number of different flexible working policies, such as:
- Compressed hours where the employee works their contractual hours over fewer days;
- Staggered hours with different starting, break and finishing times
- Part-time contracts.
Alaana Linney, Director of Business Development at Nuffield Health.
While we all have a lot in common each human is unique. It’s fantastic to see more acceptance of individuality in society and companies that reflect this are going to be the winners. Flexibility must be available to all. Not just working parents who want to see their children during the week, but also people who want to invest in their health and attend their favourite work out, which starts at 5pm. Research from the CIPD shows flexible working practices can improve staff engagement and motivation. The benefits of flexible working are well established, from increased employee engagement to better performance.
Joe Gaunt, CEO of Hero Wellbeing.
It is clear that rigid, traditional workplace structure – simply being seen at your desk from 9-5 –is no longer working for employees who want recognition and support of their lifestyles outside of work. Being flexible can take many forms: remote work, reduced hours, or a compressed working week. Some studies have shown that home working led to a 13% performance increase, attributed to fewer distractions, and the increased expectation of producing results.
Jill King, Director of International Markets at VirginPulse.
As a fairly new start-up we ensured that our company values were clear from the get go. Flexibility is one of them and it’s something that we pride ourselves on. We offer our clients a tailored service, and no two relationships are the same, so we rely on flexibility in order to ensure they’re getting the best from us and that we can be creative and truly individualised in our offerings.
Ruth Tongue, Co-founder of Elevate.