The pros and cons of flexible working

Flexible working is becoming more popular across the UK as employers seek to make work more accessible to their employees. In fact, 68% of businesses offer a flexible workspace policy. Flexible working allows for greater control over both when and where a person works, which can lead to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

Whilst some offices may retain ‘core’ hours that employees are asked to work, others will offer completely flexible working, with staff able to choose the hours that suit them best in terms of productivity and their home life responsibilities. For example, employees who are early birds can get the majority of their working day done before lunch, with night owls choosing to take a lie-in and work into the evening. This also benefits those who wish to work a split day, potentially to fit around caring responsibilities or off-peak times at the gym.

Flexible working is gaining traction globally – but what are the pros and cons of this arrangement for both employers and employees?


The pros of flexible working

Flexible working gives employees the ability to choose what is right for them, whether that’s keeping to the same routine, or changing their hours daily depending on how they’re feeling, and other commitments. Flexible working also results in:

  • Happier staff, which improves productivity and worker retention
  • Flexible working could attract top talent to a company
  • A fairer recruitment process, which doesn’t discriminate against parents, carers, and others with limited schedules
  • Cost-saving to employers if employees can work from home
  • Potential to offer more support to customers outside of core office hours


In a nutshell, flexible working is a policy often implemented by employers largely for the benefit of employees; according to some surveys, one in four workers have quit roles in favour of positions offering greater flexibility. However, in turn, this improves productivity and draws top talent to apply for new roles, which can have transformative effects on a company’s output.

The cons of flexible working

Flexible working isn’t without its downsides, with employers who introduce it having to make a conscious effort to accommodate all requests to work outside of core hours.

Cons of flexible working include:

  • Accommodating all employee requests to work flexibly may be difficult to balance when ensuring that deadlines and client needs are all met
  • Less contact in the office may lead to a feeling of a lack of cohesion between staff, with colleagues less ‘in touch’ with each other on a daily basis
  • If staff are out of reach during emergencies, it could lead to missing deadlines or rescheduling client meetings


Is flexible working right for your office?

Flexible working policies suit some offices much better than others. If you have a culture of working outside the office and the capacity to accommodate flexible working for a large majority of staff, this could work well for you.

However, if your company values ruthless productivity and deadlines, it may not be as suited to your workplace. Make sure that you have thought through how it would affect your staff, business, and clients before you make the commitment. It may also be worth getting feedback from your current staff about if they would find flexible working useful and how they could see it working in relation to their role and responsibilities.

Ultimately, flexible working is definitely worth considering, but employers should always ask for feedback, and consider how to support employees who decide to make the change.