Agile working helps firms stay competitive, says BPS World

Attitudes towards the ‘traditional’ way of working are shifting, according to recruitment specialist BPS World.

The company has produced a book, The Agile Revolution, based on new quantitative and qualitative research which shows that organisations that introduce agile working see an increase in productivity, lower their costs, and find it easier to attract talented employees.

The research revealed that two thirds (67%) of agile businesses report up to a 10% increase in productivity, while 10% said they had seen a 20% rise in productivity since adopting agile working, Recruitment international reports.

And with skills shortages becoming a pressing issue in many sectors, it’s interesting to see that 84% of agile firms said it is now much easier to hire skilled staff, and none reported that agile working makes it more difficult to do so.

One in ten (10%) even went as far as to say that the office is an ‘outdated concept’ in their industry.

Commenting on the findings, BPS World said it recognises that agile working does not suit all sectors or individuals, but the global rise in agile working, at the same time as a rise in skills shortages, means it is essential for employers to understand the concept and how it could impact on their sector.

“Agile working is not the future, it’s already here,” said BPS World’s Megan Joyce in a blog article.

“While writing the book, we found there was a significant and growing number of people who are no longer looking for work/life balance; they have accepted and embrace work/life integration. What they are now seeking is for a two-way street to emerge with their employers. They accept the late night calls, the weekend emails and the frantic deadlines, but they also expect to be able to adapt to attend the kids events or take their mum to an appointment without the need to ask or pre-book. They want to be measured on what they achieve, not bound by a 9-5 regime that no longer fits in with their lives, and in fairness does not reflect the hours needed by the business either.

“What is emerging more and more is there is a vastly untapped market out there. People who are highly skilled but cannot manage or don’t want to adapt to a desk/office based way of working. With some open-mindedness, clever use of technology and an aligned interest in business goals this resource could make all the difference to your business.”

Agile working often entails a culture change, explained Simon Conington, founder and managing director of BPS World.

“Your culture drives your behaviour and as such — if you culture is based around a fixed desk ideal then agile will always be a difficult thing to implement. This will require a step change in attitude, but also an adjustment in culture — which can take some time to achieve.”

He concluded: “As managers and businesses owners we have the greatest responsibility. We need to apply the logic to understand where agile could work and be honest where it won’t. We need to ensure the culture is robust and absorbed throughout our business to ensure that no matter where the workforce is, they believe in the business they are working for. We need to create the right environments for agile to thrive and set clear expectations and measurement to ensure success.”

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