Years ago some progressive companies started implementing flexible working conditions allowing employees to work from home on occasion or work office hours that suited them. Back then, it was seen as the exception rather than the norm as many companies believed it would lower productivity and become too difficult to manage.

But after 18 months of lockdown and forced flexibility in working conditions, thanks to the pandemic, employers and employees alike have now realised the benefits. A recent survey in the UK construction industry highlighted that flexibility is highly regarded by candidates when considering a new role. So much so that it may become a major deciding factor in terms of new employment.

What does this mean for hiring policies?

The focus on flexible working conditions is an important consideration in overcoming the skills shortage. Candidates know that they’re in demand and can afford to be more selective about which offers to consider. If a company has returned to a strict in-office or on-site policy, they may find it difficult to attract the skills they need. The vast majority of employees are looking for flexibility in some form, whether it’s a hybrid model of working from home and on site, flexible working hours or flexible annual leave options.

The future of work

Technology is making a huge impact on work efficiency and the ability to work remotely, particularly in construction. The broader adoption of BIM in the UK means that it’s become much easier to share working files and information. Scanning and inspection technologies are doing away with the need for managers to be on-site daily. Essentially technology is enabling efficient remote working and reducing the need for all employees to be in-office simultaneously.

But more importantly people are more aware of looking after their health and well-being. They don’t want to be slaves to their jobs for the sake of a salary and they want to have time to spend with loved ones or doing things they enjoy. Companies that take into consideration how they can make the workplace better for employees will come out tops.

Flexible working may have been necessary for the past 18 months, but it’s not a passing trend. The benefits that employees have experienced in being able to spend more time with family and avoiding the need to commute, are benefits they want to retain. Companies wanting to attract the best people need to have flexible working conditions on offer, or they won’t even be considered.