Flexible working, including more opportunities to work from home, remote working and a compressed four-day week, are becoming increasingly popular options for employees – and employers.
Could the model work for agents? One London agency seems to think so; Agents & Homes claim their flexible working model has improved staff morale and ultimately boosted the company’s bottom line.
The rigid 9-to-5 office-based model has never suited the needs of the lettings business, with viewings often taking place outside of working hours and at locations usually far from the office. With a more flexible approach, agents are able to adapt to the needs of prospective tenants who are usually time poor and available only during evenings and at weekends.
Agent & Homes’ co-founder, Rollo Miles, said: “Allowing staff to work more autonomously, organise their own schedules and work to their own targets will make agents more motivated.
“These days, it’s increasingly recognised that it’s important for people to have a good work/life balance with the opportunity to take holidays and time off.”
Figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey, the largest study of employment circumstances in the UK, found more than 1.54 million people work from home for their main job, a leap from 884,000 10 years ago.
The numbers are even bigger for people who use their home as a base but often work elsewhere, rising by 200,000 to 2.66 million in the decade between 2008 and 2018.
Flexibility was cited as the biggest advantage of remote working by 55% of workers asked for a survey by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, and as people’s needs change it is easy to see how a different approach to the working day could improve employee’s work/life balance.
As Miles says: “In order to remain profitable and meet the changing needs of modern consumers, agents need to embrace the flexible working structures adopted by many other sectors.”