The world of work and careers is a funny one. There is the group that sits firmly on one side of the fence, always striving to climb the corporate ladder as high as it goes. There are others (me included) who are not as ambitious; well at least not in the socially standard way. My ambition regarding my working life is to do something that interferes as little as possible with my downtime. Power suits, midnight meetings and conference calls during vacation is not where my heart lies.
Flexible work life is more up my street, and it seems that I am not the only one chasing this fluid approach to earning a crust. Newspaper reports on the growing demand for workplace flexibility have reached fever pitch this year, demonstrating just how much emphasis people are placing on flexible work in comparison to an increased salary. As a result, I thought it was time to talk about flexible working arrangements in a blog post and give some pros and cons to chasing this type of employment.
Stating The Obvious
The first pro is kinda darn smacking you in the face obvious. Flexible working arrangements give you flexibility! Do what you will with this freedom from spending it with family and friends, relaxing at home or utilizing the time to put to hobbies or other personal interests. The ability to work the way you want to may suit if you have children to collect from school or commitments that are only fulfillable during certain hours.
Another great benefit of working flexibility is that you can benefit from a less stressful commute to your workplace. Avoiding the nine to five can mean avoiding heavy traffic, so an early start or a later finish can lower the stress levels; and road rage. Some employers allow staff to work from home and again this saves on commuting stress, reduced fuel costs and the ability to work in your underpants. Win-win for everyone.
Apart from the potential fuel costs saved from the work from home scenario, there is also an opportunity to save money on childcare, expensive takeaway coffees, and fancy lunches. This increase in one’s bank account is satisfying, and a satisfied employee is more likely to stay engaged and motivated.
The advantages that I have discussed all sum up to offer an employee some more time to breathe easy. An environment of work in which a person feels they have more control is bound to be a happier one. The ability to chose working time and location gives an employee a greater sense of empowerment and is overall bound to make them more comfortable. Flexible working arrangements also enable an employee to work at times at which they are most productive; your boss will be happy with this!
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Ok, so there are lots of pros to flexible working arrangements, but there are also a few negatives, unfortunately. Some people are not the most motivated by nature (yep my hand is raised) so work from home arrangement can result in procrastination and an unusually clean house. While some people will thrive in their jocks with the laptop in hand, others struggle without a more formal working environment.
Blurring The Lines
Working from home, in particular, can be something of a grey area. When does the day start and end? Is it ok to go to the dentist and take a lunch break all in one day? Who shot JR? Working from home requires boundaries from both employee and employer; make sure to work out what time you are expected to be clocking on and off at – and don’t take calls outside of your working day!
There is not much that I can say that goes against a flexible working arrangement. In a world where work forms such an incredibly large part of our life, people are becoming disillusioned with a financial fortune over flexible working hours, and the future is looking to be flexible.