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Want to retain employees? Offer flexi working  

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014, 14:33 IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA  NEWS URL

New global survey says the concept of flexible working increases employee productivity and retention.

Thirty-year-old Akash Bhave, an IT professional, is an oddity. In a sector bedeviled with high attrition rates, Akash has stayed with his firm for the past six years. And the reason for this loyalty? 

“Because I can work from home once a week,” says Akash. “I can take mini vacations that stretch up to 10 days. This way I am also able to devote my time to travel and food, two things I am truly passionate about.”

Akash is talking about flexible working hours, a concept whose benefits are being recognized by employers. Now, providing a boost to the concept, a survey says that flexible working increases employee productivity and retention. 

Seventy-five per cent of senior business executives and business owners believe that the concept of ‘flexi working’ improves employee retention, while 73 pc said if they are asked to choose between a job that offers flexible work hours and one which doesn’t, they would choose the former. 

The survey, with a sample size of 420, was conducted among senior executives and business owners in Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata by global workplace provider Regus. Participants in the survey belonged to sectors like IT, ITeS, banking, insurance, financial services and FMCG.

Experts term ‘flexi working’ as a concept where the employer provides options like ‘work from home’ and flexi office hours that allow employees to select their own work time. 

“Motivation and productivity of employees are at their highest if flexi working is permitted,” says Sunil Goel, director of search firm GlobalHunt, while Sahil Verma, CEO, India, Regus, says stemming attrition is crucial to avoid incurring recruitment agency costs and other inconveniences associated with hiring.

Companies today spend anywhere between Rs2-4 lakhs to hire a single employee at the junior to middle management level. This includes cost of hiring, cost of training involved to make the employee productive, and salaries or stipend paid during the training period.

“Not all companies can afford to offer golden bonuses or high salaries for retention. Flexible working translates into lower costs compared to fixed office hours. It also offers the perk of lower stress and better work life balance. And is seen as an attraction while hiring talent,” said Verma.

According to the survey, 62% of respondents admitted that they would have stayed longer in their previous job if it had offered flexible work hours.

Besides India, 94 other countries were a part of the Regus survey, which threw similar results there as well.

Benefits of flexi working
Employees remain motivated, are more efficient and productive. It also helps arrest absenteeism and stress

Flexi working is a definite organizational characteristic that attracts talent and helps a company stand apart from competition

It allows employees to work at that time of the day when they are their productive best. While some people work better during the first half of a day, others are more productive post-lunch.

Virtual Workplace

A workplace that has multiple locations, or one that allows business to be done over email, internet, video, Skype. Employees communicate with each other, as well as with clients and customers using such platforms

Dell India has an initiative called Connected Workplace, that allows team members to maximize their potential by working remotely, part-time, flexi hours and sharing jobs

At GE India Technology Centre, employees can either choose their work timings, or work a day or two from home every week, or work part-time