The European football championship in France has thrown up something of a dilemma for fans of the beautiful game – and placed the UK’s working patterns under scrutiny. The much anticipated England vs Wales match has been allocated a 2pm kick-off on Thursday 16 June.
For the UK’s workforce – and bosses – the timing could not be much worse. Already, one question dominates - how to watch the game during work hours? But why in 2016 is this even an issue? What is it that makes UK businesses adhere to the age-old 9-5-with-an- hour-for- lunch routine, instead of thinking more flexibly and trusting workers to manage their own time accordingly?
Scandinavia is often a forerunner of best practice when it comes to wellbeing, and Sweden recently introduced a 6-hour working day in a bid to reduce sick leave and make staff happier. There is no hard statistical analysis of the impact of this model yet, but anecdotal evidence suggests that workers feel extremely positive as a result of redressing the work/life balance in such a way.
Today, the very notion of the 9am start to the working day seems archaic. Why should we all rush to catch the same crowded trains at the same time, or crawl along gridlocked motorways just to reach the office for a fixed 9am start?
Let’s re-think the working day and this notion that being productive means sitting at the same desk, at the same office during the same hours. The UK now boasts some of the best-designed, most eye-catching flexible workspaces in the world – spaces that forward-thinking businesses and individuals are learning to utilise for the good of both company performance and wellbeing.
Obviously, flexible working patterns will not be applicable to every industry. But there are still a high percentage of businesses that demand staff travel to a central office, work at the same desk and fit their lifestyle around the working day.
The danger for these businesses is that today’s generation of professionals don’t regard flexibility as a perk – rather they see it as an essential element of any job package. Those businesses unwilling to flex will find themselves losing out on the cream of the talent.
There are clear signs that the mindset is changing – senior managers are getting used to measuring on result rather than ‘presenteeism’. For some, this will mean being able to catch the match on the 16th without worrying whether they, rather than the goalkeepers, will face penalties. For others, the creative excuses are already being formulated.