Reading time: 3 Minutes
Allowing employees to work closer to home for Christmas may be the gift they’ve been waiting for
As the days get shorter and the lights start to twinkle on high streets from Cleveland to Copenhagen, the prospect of a cosy break with family and friends, wrapped up against the chill with feasting, gifting and all-round merriment, is in the minds of many. But, as brilliant as Christmas is, it takes effort to get right. Sourcing the turkey, selecting the wine, and decorating the tree are just a few of the time-consuming tasks – and this is before the minefield of presents comes into consideration. Coupled with the demands of work, when everyone wants to dot i’s, cross t’s, and tie up all those loose ends before the end of the year, and a season to celebrate suddenly becomes a season to stress. Balancing work and family can be tough at the best of times but when the Christmas annual-leave period rolls around, for many the scales can feel like they’re only tipping one way. Fortunately, there is another option.
The concept of flexible working has been growing in popularity around the world. Thanks to cloud-computing, faster Wi-Fi and increasingly sophisticated file-sharing software, employees can plug in and stay productive wherever they find a connection – allowing them to almost work from anywhere. Almost without realising, we’ve stumbled into a revolutionary era and the incentives for employees are plain to see: flexible benefits include cutting down on the commute, being able to pick the kids up from school, and getting more done at work – and all of these things have suddenly become genuinely attainable goals, on a daily basis.
Of course, it’s only natural for business-owners to question whether this brave new world of flexwork is the real deal. Will my company function like it used to when employees are spread out without a common gathering place? It’s a valid question –but the psychology, and the evidence, behind flexwork is compelling. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, allowing an employee to organise their day around their own personal schedule brings a sense of empowerment that, in turn, fuels a sense of ownership that actually increases productivity. And if it means they can decorate the tree with the kids too, then so much the better.
Christmas could be the ideal time to give flexwork a try. It doesn’t need to be forever – just a trial period to thank employees for all their hard work throughout the year, and to show you take their wellbeing seriously. It’s worth bearing in mind the effect it has on talent-retention: a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that millennials put work-flexibility above pay on their list of top job perks, and we all know how hard it can be to recruit the best in today’s market (not to mention the cost and time involved, even before you start discussing salaries).
Regus can help to make it happen. Its huge (and growing) global network, coupled with a vision to build a flexible-office space in “every suburb, every town, every city”, is all about investing in professionals so they can realise their career goals while enjoying a better balance – and working closer to the ones in their lives who matter most. Coffee shops may be useful for sending the odd email, and kitchen tables can always step in as makeshift desks, but there’s nothing like a well-appointed, well-lit workspace – somewhere that’s designed with productivity in mind – for getting stuff done. From photocopiers to printers, Regus Centres also come complete with the tools for business (and none of the hassle that comes with setting them up), and friendly staff to take care of day-to-day admin.
If flexible-working works for your employees and your business this Christmas, it might be worth thinking about rolling it out on a semi-permanent or even permanent basis. One of the benefits of flexible-office providers is that contracts tend to be flexible too. At Regus, meeting rooms can be rented by the hour, and desk-space can be leased for a week, a month, or as long as you like – it really is up to you. In keeping with the way we live now, these flexible arrangements are geared towards encouraging a more holistic way of life – one that promotes the importance of family and friends alongside a fulfilling day at the office.
It’s at this time of year that we tend to look back at the 12 months just gone – that seem to pass quicker every time – and take stock. What went well and what do we wish could have gone better? How do we stay relevant in a fast-moving age, and what can we do today to ensure we remain at the top of our game tomorrow? What are the new projects we want to kickstart come January – at work, and in life? One way to begin is to think about other ways of working, and what you might gain from changing things up a little. And the holiday season might be just the right time to try something new. Merry Christmas!