This time last year, the working world was returning to normality as the London Olympic and Paralympic Games drew to a close. Many employers prepared for the games' impact by pushing a flexible working agenda but - according to recruitment process outsourcer Hyphen's Zain Wadee - too many businesses still remain well behind the flexible working curve.
Many companies embraced a cultural change during the Olympics and experimented with flexible working, the benefits becoming clear to those that fully implemented it. A significant number said they saw an uplift in productivity and new collaborative approaches to work; others reported a change in employee behaviour, with workers viewing flexible working as an opportunity to extend their annual leave quota and take full advantage of the summer of sport.
Flexible working in its various guises has become increasingly popular as a result of technological advancements in recent years. Conference calling, video conferencing, email and social platforms mean workers no longer need to be in the same locality to operate collaboratively and effectively. In addition, many workers are adopting an alternative approach to the prescriptive nine-to-five, "presenteeist" approach to working life - preferring instead to work in a number of environments and increasingly for more than one employer.
Integral part of the workforce
At present, the right to request flexible working is a demand that many employers simply react to, rather than incorporate into their wider corporate culture. We still see instances of temporary, casual or contract workers being excluded from several aspects of life in the workplace, including group communications and performance evaluation. Far from companies embracing flexible working as an innovative and necessary means of navigating a changing economic environment, too many organisations remain behind the curve.
We believe that firms of all sizes need to embrace this new approach to working culture as a matter of urgency. In many companies, more than 20% of the workforce is regularly comprised of non-permanent headcount, and that number is rising rapidly.
With younger generations seeking flexibility around where they work, rather than being tied to the office, we are witnessing an emergent workforce that will see their career as a portfolio of different employers, rather than adherin