Workplace flexibility: Is it worth implementing?

Workplace flexibility

Many companies have integrated flexibility into their employees working life, but there are also companies that have not. This begs the question as to whether it is worth implementing flexible schedules or are more hassle then they are worth?

Flexible working is a working arrangement that gives an employee a way of working that suits their needs. This could be working from home or even having flexible start and finish times.

It has been brought to the forefront recently, that men have been given more ‘workplace flexibility’ than women. In an article recently published by HR Magazine, research showed that men are able to work six hours per week flexibly, whilst women are just getting three hours.

Given the rise of Generation Y and their desire to work to live (rather than living to work) it makes us question why more employers have not implemented flexible working?

Here are some of the arguments for and against:

Benefits of Flexible Working
More productive
Increase of morale
Enjoyment of work
Control over schedule
Reduction of tardiness
Increases employee loyalty
Reduces employee turnover
Reduction of employee burnout
Allows for a good work/life balance
Reduction of fuel costs and commuting time & stress
Reduces fixed office costs

Setbacks of Flexible Working
May not suit everyone
Managers may find it hard to adjust
No separation between work and home
Difficult to tell if someone is actually working or not
Some people may take advantage of the working arrangement
Are business systems capable of managing a remote workforce

As you can see from the two lists above, at face value, the benefits may seem to outweigh the drawbacks, which is why many businesses have already implemented this type of working practice.

However, in reality, it is still a big change for many employers who have not yet seen the benefits of this or for those who are change resistant and adopt more traditional working practices.

In our view, this will undoubtedly change with time, as one generation leaves the workforce and another takes prominence. The businesses that succeed in the new ‘gig economy’ will likely be the employers who get this quickly as they will become employers of choice and will win the war for talent – in what will be an interesting market for businesses and its employees alike!

To discuss further, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Can you give a bad reference?

Everyone dreams of being the boss one day or of obtaining that dream job. One part of this dream, that you don’t always think about, is having a team and having to give references. But what if you have a bad employee? Can you give a bad reference? Will you get sued if you do? Could you just give them a “neutral” reference?

A “neutral” reference is one where only the dates of service and title are given. Many businesses have now implemented a policy of only giving “neutral” references. It is a policy that is backed legally and allows a business to avoid being sued. It seems to be especially useful to give this kind of reference for bad employees. From the perspective of a recruiter, this type of reference could be the difference between you and another candidate getting a job. However, there appears to be a way of being honest and still remaining on the good side of legality, below we have listed five ways to do just that.

1. If you cannot honestly recommend an employee for a new role then it would be best to let them know. This allows them time to ask someone else or forewarns them of what is going to happen.

2. If the employee in question worked for you for more than a couple years ago, then you can decline, on the basis that they worked for you so long ago. Thus, you cannot remember what work they did for you and that your reference will then be invalid.

3. You may decide to still give a “neutral” reference but be ready for a reference checker to ask whether this is the policy of the company or just for this candidate.

4. You may sympathise with the manager and decide to be honest. However, ensure that you remain factual and objective.

5. Lastly, ensure that your employees know where you stand on their work. This will give them a good indicator of what to expect from your reference.

References can be a minefield at times but, if you stick to these simple methods, you can ensure that everyone remains happy and informed.

To discuss further, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.