Flexible Working | The Workplace of the Future is Here Now

May 28, 2022
Alexandra Kinias

The COVID year will be remembered by everyone who lived through it, for it disrupted everyone’s life. Millions of businesses suffered because of the pandemic. Some even perished. Despite all the chaos, panic, fear and uncertainty, the world economy proved its resilience. This happened because of the vision of many companies that had already started to provided flexible and remote working solutions to their employees. Those who took immediate measures to adapt to the change, not only survived, but flourished.

COVID proved that remote working is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Without the technology that supported remote working, the global economy would have collapsed. 

What is flexible working? 

It is a working arrangement between employers and employees which provides flexibility on where, when, how long, and at what times employees work. The key term here is flexibility and applies to anything that moves away from the normal but rigid 9-5, five-day week working structure. It aims at providing greater freedom for individuals over where and how they fulfill their work responsibilities, and for employers a better match between demand and resources that allows businesses to serve their customers on a 24/7 basis.

While the Flexible working environment and specifically the “Agile” workplace addresses the “entire” workforce, i.e. man and women, the trust of this campaign is aimed at the women.  The difficulties that Egyptian Women face, whether they try to earn a living or run a business, and the challenges they have to deal with in trying to balance work and family are huge and the current economic conditions, that have worsened because of the Covid-19 pandemic, pose a serious threat to women working or seeking work. The largest impact of this crisis is felt by workers and owners of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). While they face severe challenges, these women and employers also are presented with huge opportunities. The Women of Egypt Network is in full support of a Flexible Working Culture and is actively engaged in advocating and promoting such a model that is well within its core mission of empowering women. Changing mind sets is the cornerstone of such a strategy.

And help is on the way. Follow the postings in the Women of Egypt digital platforms where “tools” to help women do their work better, easier and in a more pleasant work environment will be introduced in future postings. 

BENEFITS OF FLEXIBLE WORKING

            To Employers

There are clearly benefits to all workers, especially women workers, to work in a flexible work environment. There are hesitations, however, among employers to embrace such a working model. The first obstacle, and most challenging to overcome, is the existing organizational structure which results to lack of support at senior levels. The benefits of flexible working, especially remote working, are numerous and there both direct and indirect. 

Savings on office space which include heating and cooling costs, office furniture, security and janitorial services are huge direct benefits to businesses. Technological advances allow remote working and flexible working hours for employees which result to better serving customers on a 24/7 basis. 

Indirect benefits are improved employee job satisfaction and wellbeing. Flexible working can also reduce absenteeism and allow workers to manage disabilities and chronic conditions, supporting mental health and reducing stress. And that translates to happier and more productive employees and to financial benefits to employers.

Moreover, flexible working options help attract and retain top talent and reduce employee turnover. As employee expectations change about their careers and work-life balance, and demographic changes affect worker’s ability to cope with other personal and family responsibilities, flexible working models become increasingly attractive. 

            To Employees

Perhaps the largest direct benefit to workers is the reduction of time and expenses in commuting. And that results to more time that can be devoted to work, caring for a child or ailing family member, and more money for the family budget. Additionally, female workers don’t have to be exposed to the usual sexual harassment when riding buses or trains.

Job satisfaction is another important benefit to employees and employers alike. In most cases, employees who have flexible work schedules are more satisfied than those who don’t. And higher job satisfaction with less work-related stress leads to higher productivity, and job stability. 

Flexible working makes it easier for employees to continue their education or pursue professional development opportunities. Schedule your work hours around your classes, or work remotely when attending a conference or workshop out of town. 

            To Protecting the Environment

Protecting the environment not only saves the planet and all life on it, it results to tangible, direct benefits to businesses and employees. And there are very few business practices that help protect the environment than Remote Working.

By allowing their employees to work from home, businesses don’t have to provide office space, parking, office furniture, spend a lot of money for heating, cooling, telephones. But the benefits aren’t being limited to just saving money. Raw materials and a lot of energy are used to build offices, furniture, telephones. Not having to commute to work every day saves the materials and energy used to build cars, buses, trains and the fuel used to operate them. It reduces the air and noise pollution that damages our health and environment alike. 

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