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Flexible Working, Military Mindset

August 7, 2018

Earlier this summer, the website Totaljobs conducted a survey which saw 59% of respondents state that flexible working is the single most important benefit they look for when considering a new position. Not bonuses, not pensions, not annual leave.

All manner of studies have been conducted - by learned professionals and specialist think tanks – to highlight the positive impact that flexible working can have. The results tend to be just what you would expect: better work/life balance, reduction in stress, time saved on commuting equalling more time with family.

However, these are outcomes that benefit the individual, the employee – what does the employer get in return for providing the option to work flexibly? There is data to suggest that flexible working can result in reduced absenteeism and improved morale, which can obviously increase productivity. However, the growing culture of expectation around flexible working is a matter of concern for many businesses, particularly SMEs.

There is a huge element of trust involved in allowing staff members to work from home and requiring them still to produce the expected results. If you are operating in a competitive market, amidst a period of economic uncertainty, and working to razor thin margins, you need your people to deliver.

Employers need to have confidence and faith in the work ethic and commitment of their staff. Working from home is tough, and it’s not for everyone. Self-motivation is essential, there’s no office ‘buzz’, and temptations abound with creature comforts everywhere.

As a specialist ex-military recruiter, FRS is more familiar than most with the characteristics detailed above. We are also acutely aware of the transferable nature of these fine traits, gained through military service then applied in the civilian workplace, as Managing Director Graham Brown explains:

“The rise in popularity of flexible working is seen by many as an exciting evolution in the world of work but there are important factors for employers to consider. They need their staff to be every bit as effective when working from home as they are at HQ.

“The expression ‘self starter’ is one that is often used in relation to business development roles, but it is an intrinsic element of the military ethos. Ex-Forces personnel have the drive, dedication, professionalism and integrity to operate in any location, under any circumstances, and still execute their duties flawlessly.

“Adaptability is a key component of the military mindset. There’s an old adage: no plan survives first contact. In other words, you need to be ready to adjust, adapt and advance at a moment’s notice. What employer doesn’t want those attributes within their team?”

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