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Flexible working in manufacturing is a better incentive than money, says HSBC study

Research conducted by HSBC has revealed that lifestyle benefits, such as flexible working, are more likely to improve workplace productivity for employees than financial incentives.

A huge 91% of manufacturing workers believe this to be the case, yet only 23% have the option to work flexibly. This is the greatest disparity across all the industries surveyed.

The study found that 89% of employees – both men and women almost equally – consider flexible working to be the single biggest motivator for working more productively and efficiently. Financial incentives fell behind at 77%.

81% of workers also believe the opportunity to work remotely would help productivity.

Unfortunately for those in the manufacturing industry, there is a large disparity between what they believe would improve productivity and what they are offered by their employers. Productivity as defined by the ONS, calculated as output per worker or output per hour worked, stands at £36.20 in this sector, and while this above the £32.20 national average, it is almost 50% lower than the most productive sector – professional services – where productivity stands at £68.10.

Regions like London and the South East, where flexible working is more popular, see the highest levels of productivity in the UK. Only 18% of manufacturing employees in Wales are offered the opportunity for flexible working, and as a result, productivity levels are lower.

Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK said: “Our research shows that for an overwhelming number of workers, wellbeing initiatives are more motivating than financial incentives. Today’s workforce want a better balance between their work and home lives, and the companies that are recognising and making provision for this are creating happier and more productive workplaces, which in turn is translating to the bottom line.”

Becks Beere Managing Director of Avec UK, a design, product development & manufacturer, said: “As a mum of four, I understand the pressure to balance work and home life without having to compromise on career progression or the overall productivity of the business. For this reason I make sure Avec has a strong and supportive flexible working culture.

“The wellbeing of our employees is the most important thing to us, so we have a number of informal flexible working arrangements in place to help our employees balance their commitments both inside and outside work. Not only does this help create a better environment, it shows our employees that we value and care for them, which helps contribute towards a more motivated and engaged workplace. And it seems to be working for us – in the last year we have more than doubled our turnover, with further significant growth already planned into 2018 and onwards. If businesses focus on looking after their employees, they are more likely to be motivated, happier and loyal to the company – which has a strong impact on their output.” 

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