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By founder Nikki Cochrane

Asking for flexible working arrangements isn't just good for you, it's good for business too

Nikki Cochrane is co-founder of Digital Mums, a company that trains mothers to be remote social media managers for brands, so they can work flexibly around family life. She commissioned a report into flexible working, the results of which she has turned into a campaign called #WorkThatWorks, which dovetails nicely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s #WorkingForward and Mother Pukka’s #FlexAppeal campaigns. As this is an issue which is close to our heart, we asked her to set out why businesses should allow flexible working arrangements. This is what she said…

One of the often-heard complaints about flexible working is that it’s ‘just’ useful for parents and is actually a massive hassle for businesses.  Well think again.  Our report found that if businesses did offer more flexible working options, the economy could be boosted by a massive £62.5 billion a year…

1. Missing talent

Our #WorkThatWorks report shows there are currently 2.6 million mums not working in the UK but seven in ten would go back to work if flexible working was an option. That’s a whole lot of fabulous talented women just waiting to work if companies can be more flexible.

2. Presenteeism sucks

The 9-5, bums-on-seats model and coat-on-the-back-of-the-chair culture is dead. Technology has enabled us all to be connected 24-7.  And that means flexible working can be a genuine reality.  Businesses should measure success on results and not time spent at a desk.

3. The pick of the talent pool

Allowing flexible working means that you have a wider pool from which to recruit. You get to choose the right person for the right job, not just the right person that happens to live within a commute to the office. One of our team currently works from South America.

4. You build trust

If someone is not delivering at work you should know about it, whether they’re at their desk or working from home. If you don't trust your employees not to skive off the minute your back is turned then you have a much bigger problem than a lack of flexible options. You have an entire workforce that aren't committed or passionate about what you do.

5. It makes commercial sense

If you’re a small business, you often don’t have the funds to hire full-time people in every area you need help with. Offering more part-time flexible roles helps with this. Plus, when a team works remotely you save on operational costs.

6. A happy team

A better work/life balance makes everyone feel happier. A recent study from MIT Sloan School of Management showed staff working remotely and in charge of their hours were much less stressed and worked harder.  And a happy team is one that wants to stay with you, it’s win-win.