Legislation introduced in 2014 extended the right to request flexible working to all employees. Fast forward to 2018 and what has changed?
In my role as a legal recruiter here at Thornton Legal I work part time, flexible hours and have the option to work from home yet not all employers are willing to embrace this modern and forward-thinking approach. In a recent survey 87% of candidates wanted or needed flexible working yet only 11% of roles advertised now refer to an ‘openness to flexible working’.
As a recruiter, candidate’s I work with are requesting flexible or part time work more and more. Whilst some clients open it with open arms (which makes my job a lot easier) others are still deemed to be operating in the ‘dark ages’ with the traditional 9-5 sat at your desk all day approach. I all too often see clients loose out on some of the best candidates and top talent on the market to rival firms.
Many law firms in certain practice areas are struggling to fill positions and attract candidates with the role often being advertised for months. So, what are the advantages of flexible working to consider for your firm?
- Attracting a wider range of candidates
Offering flexible working in today’s modern landscape is a massive pull factor for candidates for many reasons. It also gives employees a sense of the kind of firm they will be employed by and assurances that they can continue within their future career. It also attracts candidates from further afield such as those who would otherwise be put off by a long commute into work everyday with the knowledge that they can split their time between the office and home.
- Lowers costs for you as the employer
Flexible working or remote working not only saves on salaries paid and sick days taken but also on space in the office too. Many employees working within law firms are now working remotely from home and many firms offer this to some degree. In the next few years I think this will be the norm and those flagging behind need to catch up to keep up to date with the changes inevitably ahead.
Less means more? I know first-hand the focus I put into my job knowing I have less days in the week to get things done. Many candidates feel that knowing they have employers support and trust to work from home/ flexibly means they are more committed to proving themselves and to working smarter often producing the same results as employees working full time or longer hours.
- Staff retention
Offering this benefit to staff means those who do have family commitments which would have prevented them from working traditionally may now stay with a firm they would otherwise have been forced to cut ties with. Staff request this benefit for many reasons such as returning from maternity or shared parental leave, childcare, caring for dependents, caring for elderly parents, cutting out a long daily commute. Requests can be from both men and women; parents and grandparents as modern society shares the burden.
Maybe it is time that businesses need to start asking “How can this role be done on a flexible basis?” instead of dismissing that “this role can’t be done flexibly”.