In a new article by the digital staffing platform Coople, the wealth of benefits for businesses that undertake a flexible workforce is outlined – including how it can lead to higher employee morale and productivity, alongside the cost-effectiveness of hiring flexible staff during busy periods, rather than potentially losing money on full-time staff throughout the year.
It is no understatement that businesses across the UK have faced an extremely turbulent couple of years financially, having to deal with residual economic impacts left over from the pandemic, as well as more recent challenges – such as the cost of living crisis, high inflation, and rising fuel prices. As a result, many businesses have had to adapt in order to remain afloat – and much of this comes down to how they structure their workforce.
Yves Schneuwly, Group Chief Commercial Officer at Coople comments:
“Businesses across the UK are currently operating in a unique landscape that requires them to be more adaptable and restructure according to demand. Higher operating costs have meant that companies now have to be more cost-effective in their hiring decisions, and economic uncertainty has meant that there is no guarantee of consistently high workloads throughout the year.
“This has led to many businesses experiencing lulls and quieter periods at some point in the year, when they do not necessarily need a larger workforce. This can lead to a loss of money on overstaffing during these periods when fewer employees are required.
“At Coople, we are passionate about flexible workforces as a solution to this conundrum – allowing companies to increase and decrease their workforce as required throughout the year, without the need to form large or oversized internal teams. This also benefits employees that may have an increased need for flexibility in their working life as living costs, such as childcare, have risen.”
Implementing a flexible workforce can have a significant impact on employee productivity. According to Coople, this is because the hiring of temporary, flexible workers allows companies to hire talent based on how well they fit into the team and what they can bring to the workforce, rather than having to fill vacancies with the nearest person available who may not necessarily be a good fit.
Similarly, hiring flexible workers at times when there may be an increased workload helps to prevent existing employees from becoming burnt out through overwork.
Businesses experiencing a sudden increase in demand may be tempted to upscale their workforce by hiring permanent staff. However, according to Coople, this could be detrimental to their finances in the long term when the workload reaches a quiet period and this larger workforce is no longer needed.
This can result in the need for businesses to make redundancies to save money – which can ultimately damage morale and harm productivity.
However, this can be avoided with flexibility – as both the companies and employees are aware that their time together is only temporary, and this suits both parties to ensure there are no hurt feelings. Additionally, this also allows companies to re-hire temporary workers who have worked well for them in the past.
As living costs have increased across the UK, there is now a greater need for employees to have some degree of flexibility and autonomy over their working patterns – with higher childcare costs meaning that many working parents are benefiting more from flexible working arrangements that allow them to choose their own hours and save money.
Coople emphasises that, particularly during these times of increased economic strain, companies that adopt a reactive, flexible working approach can help to weather the storm and future-proof themselves for when the economic landscape eventually begins to return to normal.