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In the face of economic uncertainty, businesses around the world are being forced to adapt and evolve in order to survive and thrive. The UK, like many other nations, has experienced its fair share of challenges over the past 12 months. From the cost of living to high inflation – UK businesses have had to find innovative ways to weather the storm. One strategy that has proved invaluable in these tumultuous times is the implementation of flexible workplace plans.

In this article, we at Coople will delve into how developing a flexible workplace planning can be a vital tool for UK businesses to navigate the complex economic landscape that the nation is currently experiencing – allowing businesses to continue to grow, maximise profits, and reduce financial risk.

The economic landscape at a glance

Before delving into the benefits of flexible workplace planning, it’s important to understand the economic challenges faced by UK businesses in recent time. The cost of living crisis has significantly impacted the citizens’ purchasing power, making it harder for businesses to maintain customer loyalty and sales figures.

Furthermore, high inflation has further exacerbated these problems, putting pressure on both consumers and businesses alike. While inflation has been on a steady decline over the past 2 months, it still sits well above the Bank of England’s target of 2% – leading to multiple full-time upscaled labour force can cause businesses to lose money during quieter periods. Additionally, underestimating the required manpower can similarly cause issues for companies – instead leading to last-minute hires that may not be the best fit.

During times of economic uncertainty – such as those being experienced by the UK over the past 12 months – this can mean that companies need to be even more flexible in their approach to staffing, as rapid shifts in operating costs due to rising fuel prices and interest rates may otherwise force businesses to make staff layoffs that could significantly damage employee morale. In the past 3 months, redundancies in the UK have increased from 95,000 in May 2023 to 108,000 in June 2023 – highlighting a need for companies to be wary.

By promoting flexible working models, businesses can pivot swiftly in response to changing economic circumstances. For example, in the face of high inflation and reduced consumer spending, companies can dynamically adjust their workforce size without resorting to drastic layoffs. This enables managers to make the best decisions for their team, rather than resorting to hiring whoever is available out of necessity in an emergency.

This not only preserves the morale of remaining employees – which is statistically proven to help improve productivity and boost sales – but also positions the business for a more robust recovery once the economic situation stabilizes.

Employee morale and productivity – two sides of the same coin

During times of economic uncertainty, maintaining a motivated and productive workforce is essential. Flexible workplace planning contributes to this by fostering higher employee morale and increased productivity. At a time when employees are dealing with the economic fallout of the cost of living crisis, providing them with flexibility and autonomy can be a powerful tool for productivity and loyalty – according to CoachHub.

Traditional workforce structures can lead to a range of productivity issues during times of economic uncertainty, particularly concerning companies increasing or decreasing the workload of their employees in response to tightened budgets or labour shortages. This is greatly improved by operating with flexible staffing – allowing companies to hire the staff they need at any time, without over – or under–utilising their existing workforce.

Similarly, times of economic uncertainty – such as the current cost of living crisis – can create unique circumstances for employees. A regular full-time contract may no longer meet their needs due to the need to reduce rising childcare costs or a desire to work multiple jobs at once – meaning they, too, benefit from being offered flexibility in their approach to working.

When employees have the freedom to work in environments where they feel most comfortable and focused, they tend to be more productive. This can be particularly advantageous when businesses are striving to achieve more with limited resources. By harnessing this heightened productivity, companies can weather the challenges posed by inflation and economic instability more effectively.

The relationship between responsiveness and turnover

The UK labour market is currently experiencing a unique and challenging time for businesses, with the ongoing threat of a potential recession early in 2024 amidst continued economic pressures resulting from high – though slowly decreasing – inflation, and concerns over the upcoming winter months causing another spike in energy prices.

In response to this highly uncertain economic climate, companies have to act fast to ensure they don’t lose money on overstaffing or risk losing employees through overwork or creating a ‘hostile’ work environment through redundancies. This is where responsive staffing solutions carry the majority of their weight.

Responsive staffing enables companies to hire in line with demand, ensuring that there is no chance of being left with too big or small of a workforce.

A truly responsive staffing solution should:

  • Only charge you for completed shifts to ensure ‘true’ responsiveness.
  • Allow you to agree on work contracts in a fair, efficient and frictionless way, even at short notice.
  • Provide you with access to a large pool of fully vetted workers.
  • Handle complex shift requirements on demand.
  • Allow you to choose who you hire and offer full financial transparency.
  • Allow you to build your own pool of favourite workers who are accessible on demand.

This places companies back in control during times when they may otherwise feel like they have none.

How Coople can help to build your flexible workforce

At Coople, we provide an all-in-one staffing solution for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re looking to reduce hiring risk or overcome operational gaps, you can future-proof your business strategy with Coople’s flexible platform.

Cost transparency – you only ever pay for completed shifts. Our platform allows businesses to access a line-item breakdown of fees, salaries, and National Insurance for every shift hour.

Increase profits – flexibility helps to reduce your fixed costs by adjusting team sizes to meet current needs as demand curves fluctuate, ensuring your business is never left without necessary manpower or with too many employees.

Hire at any time – Coople’s platform allows you to post new jobs 24/7 and hire workers on your own schedule. Our matching algorithm finds the best workers for you in seconds – thanks to our new “auto-hire” feature.

Transparency for ensure quality – see job histories, ratings from other employers, and which favourite pools workers are part of, ensuring you never have to hire blindly again.

Build your own ‘favourites’ pool – save lists of favourite workers you trust so you can hire them at speed in the future.

Graphical illustration of the adjustments of a fixed versus flexible workforce to sales fluctuations

How smarter workforce planning can aid UK businesses

The recent economic challenges faced by UK businesses demand innovative solutions. A flexible workplace plan is an essential strategy for navigating these uncertainties, providing businesses with the tools they need to adapt, survive, and thrive in a complex and ever-changing landscape.

By embracing adaptability, businesses can benefit from cost savings, enhanced employee morale and productivity. This enables UK businesses to position themselves for a resilient recovery and a brighter financial future.

With Coople, flexible workforce planning becomes an experience that pays off. We connect reputable companies with ambitious workers who want to make a difference today and are ready to learn new skills tomorrow.

Join Coople today – no subscription or set-up costs.