Flexible working worth the time according to study

Series of benefits to offering options on when and where employees work

Be more flexible and you’ll soon find more people will want to work for you – or so says a new report commissioned by FWD.

The study contributed to by several members including Booker, Bidfood and Bestway found that greater flexibility in when and where employees work would help the wholesale sector attract talented people from all backgrounds.

With older people and women more likely to remain in their posts if they are offered less rigid hours and the savings in retaining existing staff much greater than the cost of replacing them, there are plenty of reasons to embrace flexibility.

Hiring and retention aren’t the only reasons to embrace flexibility though, with the report also found that versatile working conditions also boosts motivation and productivity of existing team members – and promotes loyalty that leads to better customer service.

The research was carried out by flexible working consultancy, Timewise, and was welcomed by FWD Chief Executive James Bielby, who believes more wholesalers should be considering adopting a policy.

“Our members have recognised that flexible working increases the talent pool, balances gender and age equality,” said Bielby.

“It improves the wholesaler’s brand, attracts better people and improves productivity, loyalty and customer service”

In the past, barriers to adopting flexible working included a culture of presenteeism, the association of working long hours with effectiveness and the concern that introducing options would open the floodgates for requests from employees.

But now the report has highlighted the benefits, wholesalers are being urged to establish an internal steering group to define flexible working within their company and share positive examples of flexibility within the business.

Dr Charlotte, Director of Research and Consultancy at Timewise said: “Our investigation to date has shown that wholesale distributors recognise the need to make changes in order to attract and retain talent, and we look forward to helping UK wholesale distributors to design flexible and part-time roles for managers.”