KPMG's David Fairs urges employers to consider the long-term benefits of flexible working, at a time when the improving jobs market is tempting staff to think about their next move.
With one day to go before the 2014 World Cup kicks off, KPMG's David Fairs urges employers to consider the long-term benefits of flexible working, at a time when the improving jobs market is tempting staff to think about their next move. He warns, however, that only introducing it as a short-term measure could backfire, if employees feel they are not trusted to manage their time effectively.
A partner in KPMG’s People & Change practice, David says: “With the time difference between the UK and Brazil likely to cause a headache for many football fans who want to stay up late and still be work-ready the following morning, employers will have to demonstrate some nifty footwork to keep both their staff and clients happy.
“It’s too simplistic to suggest that employers should simply make allowances for late starts the morning after a big game. Doing so ignores the resentment that may be felt by employees who will happily let World Cup fervour pass them by. It also shows scant regard for client needs – many of whom will rightly expect service levels to be maintained.
“The key lies in employers working out what the real restrictions are around their business and making it clear what the constraints exist from the business side. Staff should be treated for what they are – responsible adults – and given the flexibility to watch games if they want to, but on the understanding that they would be expected to make that up time lost as a result. The simple fact is, of course, that if you don’t provide flexibility some people will find a way, anyway.
“And whilst the World Cup will be over in a month – or less, for some supporters – employers must also consider the impact of any flexible working policies they introduce. Giving staff the freedom to work responsibly will be a welcome move, but rescinding these rights once people have got used to them may lead to resentment. It implies that employers think staff cannot be trusted, when a little give and take on flexible working can boost morale, performance and productivity. The risk of removing a benefit may also create a disengaged workforce - something that would be nothing less than an own goal.”
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Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.