I was at an interesting seminar this morning with Challinors Solicitors, on work life balance. The guest speaker was Terence Hogarth of the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick.
Although work life balance and flexible working were somewhat conflated (and I do not want to play the definitions game) his view was that there was a potential benefit to employers. One question is whether work balance issues are actually a product of a tight labour market, which is not the case at present. Only time will tell if this is true or not.
The benefit to employers? A recession often means losing staff and thus talent. When the upturn comes, talent again has to be brought in, which means that it also has to be bought in. When other employers are doing the same, there is likely to be an inflationary bidding war for talent.
Keeping talent by showing flexibility on both sides can avoid many of these problems, and build and maintain staff loyalty. That said, large corporates may find this more sustainable than would small businesses,