The benefits of flexible working conditions are well known and, to a certain extent, are completely obvious. It makes sense to recognise that bluntly insisting on an employee working inconvenient or unsociable hours will not be well received, and it is equally logical to recognise that your employees sometimes do need to fit work around other commitments.
However, the results of a recent study suggest that the benefits of flexible working options could be more dramatic than first thought. The study, undertaken by Vodafone UK, revealed that flexible working options actually have a greater impact on levels of job satisfaction than more obvious benefits such as pensions, bonus schemes or even a financial stake in the business itself.
Mike Emmott, an Employee Relations Advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, has devoted some thought to why this should be. He believes that flexible working options, whether in the form of part-time hours, flexitime, term-time-only working, job-sharing arrangements or even working from home are beneficial for both the individual employee and the wider requirements of the company.
Although it takes a little more effort to arrange, flexible working conditions send a very positive signal to a practice's staff. If their wishes and requirements are recognised to exist and respected to even at least a minimal extent, they feel that they are being listened to and respected as individuals instead of being just another name on the roster. The effects of this feeling of being genuinely valued is positive: "They are more committed to the organisation and feel more fairly treated.” Mr Emmott explains.
This translates into valuable practical gains for all concerned. Mr Emmott also highlighted the clear drop in time off due to illness and stress, the potential to meaningfully increase the recruiting talent pool (word gets around, and more people who like the idea of working for you can't be a bad thing) and strongly improving the prospects of retaining the people you already have.
Flexible working options are by no means unremarkable in today's workplace, but the amount of coordination required to reconcile a large number of unique shift patterns can be intimidating and time consuming. However, this process doesn't actually need to be complicated at all and there is no reason that it should be. Software packages that can take care of managing even the most complex rotas can provide immeasurable benefits to your practice and can allow the practice manager who previously struggled with hundreds of hours of shift rotas to devote their valuable time and attention to better causes.
If you would like to discuss Rota Manager software that has been specifically designed for veterinary practices, please visit the Rota Manager website.