Why flexible working is no silver bullet against stress

The health watchdog NICE has weighed in on the flexible working debate and issued guidance that companies should be doing more to ‘make employees feel appreciated’, arguing that this could have a considerable impact on public health.

According to NICE, work-related illness is currently resulting in 27 million lost working days and costing the UK economy approximately £13.4 billion annually.

They argue that work-related illnesses are very common and often the result of long, irregular hours, discriminatory practices and a lack of control over work and suggest more respect for work-life balance could have a considerable impact on public health.

One of their key recommendations is giving employees more control over their working hours, highlighting that flexible working practices have a big role to play in facilitating this.

We think that flexible working can have immeasurably value for employees and businesses alike and have often argued for its benefits. Still, we’re not sure it’s the best – or only solution – to the public health issues that have arisen because of work-related illness. Evidence shows that flexible working can actually result in employees working longer hours and can lead to even worse work-life balance.

At the end of the day, the real key to reducing work-related illness is ensuring that employees have a good balance between their work and personal life. While for some this can be achieved through flexible working initiatives, for others keeping to the traditional 9-5 might be a better option. An adaptable approach and supportive management are the real key to keeping employees happy and healthy.

Posted on 26th June 2015 in Capability&Insight
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