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Work from Home Week 2015

“Don't lose them flex them”, says Kate Cooper, Senior Advisor at the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) ahead of Work from Home Week -
19-25th January 2015

New research from the UK’s largest management organisation has shown that 37% of workers are planning to leave their current jobs in 2015, with 18% wanted more opportunity for flexible working and 25% planning a move because they felt under appreciated.

“Work from Home Week is an excellent opportunity for employers to start a fresh approach to flexible working by challenging cultural beliefs that it isn’t beneficial for businesses or is for the less career mined amongst us. It’s a good way to engage with a disillusioned work force unhappy in their job.”

The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) want to highlight that if companies are to retain staff in 2015, it’s important for them to make sure structures are in place for workers to feel valued in their roles.

Previous ILM research (Flexible working: Goodbye nine to five) has shown that over four out of five (82%) managers reported improvements in productivity, commitment and retention of staff, and 62% of managers said it helped their organisation respond better to customer needs.

ILM defines flexible working as allowing employees reasonable room for manoeuvre on how long, where, when and how they work. This encompasses

  • Off-site working
  • Time off in lieu
  • Compressed weeks (a standard week’s work in less than five days)
  • Job sharing
  • Part-time
  • Variable part-time (mixing full- and part-time working)

Kate Cooper: “To really reap the benefits of a flexible workforce, organisations need to invest in the systems and skills that enable remote workers to flourish. This means managers developing their planning, objective setting and communication skills for their teams. If remote working doesn’t exist in an organisation then maybe a trial is the answer.”

“Our ILM survey showed that 94 % of UK organisations offer flexible working in one form or the other so organisations need to ensure their managers are ready, by embedding the appropriate skills for flexible working to flourish- this means that managers should be properly trained . We would also encourage managers to be open and honest about their flexible working policies which can alleviate worries and uncertainty and help to address the negative attitudes within their organisation.”

“The managers we spoke to were clear about the skills needed to manage a flexible workforce – strong

relationship skills, managing performance by focusing on results not effort. As well as the ability to arrive at mutually agreed targets so companies that want to reap the benefits of flexible working options ensure that their managers are ready for the challenge too.”