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Flexible working in, excessive meetings and email overload out, say HR professionals

Flexible working in, excessive meetings and email overload out, say HR professionals

96% of HR professionals say flexible working would boost day-to-day productivity

Fewer meetings (56%) and banning emails (26%) also cited as improving performance

Talent management (82%) and succession management (67%) key to longer term output

Flexible working is the best way to increase day-to-day productivity according to research conducted among HR professionals by specialist HR recruiter Ortus.*

Ninety six per cent said this would boost work levels with 59% saying working from home would achieve the same result, suggesting allowing employees to work around their home life would create a more productive workforce.

Fewer meetings (56%), four day weeks (48%) and getting rid of emails (26%) also scored highly. Seventy per cent of HR professionals questioned, said they felt their organisation would be open to introducing at least some of these measures, pointing to significant changes in the way most companies work.

Health and wellbeing are clearly key to performance with 63% citing healthy food and drink provision as an encouraging factor, while 52% said regular gym breaks within office hours would make employees more productive.

Top five measures to increase day-to-day productivity

Flexible working – 96%

Provision of healthy food and drink – 63%

Working from home – 59%

Fewer meetings – 56%

Gym/exercise breaks within office hours – 52% 

More unusual incentives included meditation time (22%), social media breaks, (15%), and afternoon nap facilities (11%).

When asked why they became an HR professional, more than a quarter of respondents said they were interested in getting the most of out of people.. This result came behind the & lsquo;variety and scope’ of an HR role which scored 34%.

However, despite the focus on flexible working by HR professionals, it was ranked as only the sixth most vital benefit among employees themselves, lagging behind 25 days’ holiday and a company pension.

Stephen Menko, UK director of Ortus said:

“Getting the most out of the workforce is a core function of the HR profession and attitudes have changed about how to achieve this. The focus is more on the health and happiness of staff rather than all-nighters and lots of meetings. A clear case of the carrot and not the stick. Allowing people to work around their lives rather than the other way around is easier today with access to smartphones, the internet and emails meaning flexible working practices are easier to achieve for organisations with little cost. However, the case for flexible working clearly still needs to be made to employers and employees alike if it is to become the norm.”

Long-term performance boosters

When asked about longer term measures to boost overall performance, the focus was on retaining and promoting top staff. The most popular measure was improved talent management (82%) followed by better succession management (67%) and mentoring schemes (67%). A third said more holidays would boost performance in the longer term and 44% said more staff training.

Stephen Menko continues:

“There is a link from day to day happiness and longer term productivity - a happier, more contented workforce is less likely to be looking for a move. However, in the longer term, talent management is perhaps the most important element of a productive workforce. HR managers are mindful that above all employees are still driven and are impatient for progress through the ranks, and if not forthcoming, they may start to look elsewhere to further their career.”


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