On the 28th September I am delighted to be co-hosting a joint Manchester CIPD / ACAS conference on a subject close to my heart; flexible working. Our key note speaker, CIPD CEO Peter Cheese, will address the subject of making flexibility a reality for all.
According to a recent Xpert HR survey more than half of organisations have experienced an increase in flexible working requests over the last two years. These organisations attributed this increases to more supportive organisational cultures and changing workforce demographics.
Flexible working is often categorised as a family friendly benefit; something that’s all about working parents or perhaps carers. But there is more to flexible working than going part time and formal requests following maternity leave – and it is valued by a much wider range of people than we might expect.
Flexible working is also about employee wellbeing, talent acquisition, employer branding, employee engagement and retention. Flexible working is an opportunity. More and more organisations are seeing the benefits and embracing it. Only this last week PwC demonstrated how they are taking flexible working to ‘the next level’ by introducing a scheme through which staff can choose their working hours in a response to increased demand for flexible working patterns. Their own research found that 46% of people say flexible working and a culture of good work/life balance are the most important factors when choosing a job. This isn’t all that surprising when we stop and think. Perhaps it is more of a surprise just how many organisations are still attached to traditional working patterns and upholding all the old barriers to more flexible approaches.
I believe that flexible working is essential for organisations in order to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent, at all levels. Along with a flexible working strategy it is key to inclusion, plays a part in reducing the gender pay gap and can improve workplace wellbeing and productivity. Last year CIPD Manchester held the Big Conversation about work and families. Through those discussions, we learned that there is much to do to enable parents and families in particular get the flexibility they need to fully contribute to the workplace whilst also raising a family. There is still too much getting in the way, too much ‘banter’ toward those that have to work flexibly, too much manager resistance. Stereotypes still thrive.
If you want to explore how to make flexible working work for you, hear case studies from those who have already had success and take away practical tools and tips, then why not come along to our conference as we attempt to move beyond the stereotypes and embrace better way of working.
You can find more information about the conference and book your ticket here.