Can Flexible Working Be Applied to the Modern Industrial Workplace?


Can Flexible Working Be Applied to the Modern Industrial Workplace?

Skills Shortage, Hiring Tips

Flexible working is becoming an increasingly popular option for both Employees and Hiring Managers across employment sectors.

Matthew Dann, Thorn Baker Industrial Recruitment DirectorThere's been a rise recently of 61% in the number of employers that have the option available. This increase is mainly based on office work, which is far different from the types of work undertaken retail and warehouse staff. In this blog, we will be looking at whether flexible working is a viable option across industrial employment sectors. As well as how you as a Hiring Manager could use these options to boost your current and future workforce.

Matthew Dann, Thorn Baker Industrial Recruitment Director

Thorn Baker Industrial Recruitment What does flexible working mean?What does flexible working mean?

‘Flexible working’ is an umbrella term that defines a variety of ways that employees can enjoy a better work-life balance, including:

  • Remote working: Working from home or another out-of-office location, such as a coffee shop
  • Job sharing: Responsibilities of a role are split between two people
  • Compressed hours: Allowing employees to work longer hours and fewer days
  • Annualised hours: A certain number of hours are spread flexibly throughout the year
  • Staggered hours: Staff members work the same number of hours but can have start and end times that better suit their lifestyle
  • Flexitime: Employees must work ‘core hours’ but can take advantage of flexible start and finish times when necessary

Engage for Success have reported that manual and service roles can still benefit from certain types of flexible working – such as compressed hours and job sharing – and 53% of employers have said that they believe all industries should make it an option for their workers.

Thorn Baker Industrial Recruitment ​What are the benefits of flexible working?What are the benefits of flexible working?

  • A better work-life balance
  • Increased productivity (82% of employees say they get more work done when working flexibly)
  • A less stressful commute
  • More flexibility for personal needs
  • Greater job satisfaction

Many employers agree flexible working improves the workplace by:

  • Boosting morale (70% of employers agreed that staff were happier in their role)
  • Increased productivity (58% noted that flexibility resulted in better performance)
  • A more relaxed and pleasant office atmosphere
  • Lowered costs and overall emissions
  • Better overall organisation and communication

There’s even ‘national day’s’ celebrating the benefits of flexible working: Flexible Working Day, Work Wise Week and National Work from Home Day

Flexible working is great! But is it achievable in an Industrial workplace?Flexible working is great! But is it achievable in an Industrial workplace?

In our recent blog, the top 6 issues hiring managers will face this summer, and how to overcome them, we looked at the challenges that all Hiring and Production Managers face during seasonal peak times:

  • Hiring Time
  • Planned Vs. Unplanned Absences
  • Candidate Quality
  • Flexibility Needed
  • Unexpected Orders
  • High Temperatures in the Workplace

Many of you already know that a temporary job can satisfy both businesses and workers. Temporary work offers more flexibility than a permanent position and is increasingly becoming popular to meet individual’s needs. Businesses are now seeing this as a great way to recruit, test candidates abilities and how they fit into their working environment. 

Can you as a business apply flexible working even further within your business?Can you as a business apply flexible working even further within your business?

The employment world is changing and in order to retain the very best workers, businesses need to adapt with it.

Ways that you could apply flexible working are:

  • Extended operating hours: this would allow shift flexibility if you don’t already have this in place and expands your operations to cope with the 24/7 expectations of modern customers.
  • Job share: this can help to attract a skilled workforce that requires part-time hours and needs a better work/life balance.
  • Health and Wellbeing: flexibility may help to improve health and wellbeing and, as a result, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

What are the potential barriers?What are the potential barriers?

The Undercover Recruiter has stated that some potential barriers include:

  • Potential operational difficulties, additional costs and resistance from managers
  • Possible pressure on workers who aren’t requesting flexible working
  • Potential negative impact on customer service and quality of work
  • Problems in scheduling work and shifts with varied work arrangements to consider
  • Difficulties in communicating with employees not working on organisational premises

‘Flexible working’ & ‘work/life balance’ are very real issues for today’s workforce. The Industrial Recruitment sector is now well into peak season, and candidates have greater choice of assignments than ever before – it’s vital that we all look at ways to both attract and retain job-seeking candidates. If you'd like to discuss any of these points further you can contact your local branch here.