An article by Inova

How flexibility in the workplace after COVID-19 can be a positive move!

Whether you are a key worker, on furlough or working from home, COVID-19 has changed our personal and working lives. In these unprecedented and unpredictable times the United Kingdom and other countries globally are beginning to emerge from lockdown and restrictions are being eased. Going back into work or an  office environment can seem a daunting prospect. Namely, concerns associated with going back to ‘normality’ and the work setting include:

  • Putting yourself and others at risk
  • Safety concerns within the working environment e.g. hygiene practices
  • Finding it difficult to transition back to ‘normality’.

Although there are many concerns in relation to going back to the office, following local and national guidelines can mitigate these risks. Whilst many may find themselves nervous to go back to the office there are ways in which this can be reduced, for example, through flexible working. The coronavirus situation has changed the way of working and life, with many people homeschooling their children, caring for friends or family, shielding, and flexible working is becoming somewhat the new normal.

What are the benefits of flexibility?

Flexibility in the workplace can provide many benefits to both you and your employer. In accordance to Heathfield (2019) the following points refer to the advantages of flexible working.

For the Employee:

  • Lower levels of commute. Positive environmentally, economically and socially in terms of saving time.
  • More time with family and friends.
  • Greater control over schedule.

For the Employer:

  • Greater staff morale.
  • Improved employer image, i.e. seen as a family centred business.
  • Unlikely to have unplanned absences.

It should be noted that there are advantages for both the employer and employee, hence if you are not able to work flexibility, maybe could you ask your employer? According to Smail (2018) 33% of happiness at work comes from flexible working.

In research conducted with respect to flexible working has correlations with:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Less absenteeism
  3. Lower employee turnover

As part of the Happiness@work project, we aim to increase satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. To find out more about how employees and managers can improve happiness in the workplace keep up to date with our project news.