The UK Flexible Working Bill: Unleashing a new era of entrepreneurial spirit

By Marcus Knight, co-founder, BE YELLOW

The UK Flexible Working bill is on its way to becoming law, with the majority of responses being overwhelmingly positive, especially concerning employee wellbeing. However, the value of this progressive bill goes far beyond employee benefits. It has the potential to transform various aspects of society, such as adult education, freedom to travel, and more time to spend with loved ones or giving back to the community. In this article, I will explore how flexible working is poised to usher in a new era of entrepreneurial spirit, emboldening ambitious individuals to leverage the legislation in conceiving, starting, and growing new businesses.

Budding entrepreneurship can often be seen as a series of trade-offs between commitments and responsibilities, and the pursuit of goals and passions. Full-time employment may offer financial stability for entrepreneurial endeavours, but it also demands significant time, focus, and mental and physical energy, which can dim the spark of motivation and creativity. This trade-off has often left many people dreaming of venturing into new business ideas but unable to find the time and energy to make it a reality. However, this may now change in the face of this new flexible working era.

How Employees Can Utilise Flexible Working to Support Entrepreneurship

At BE YELLOW we’re impassioned by innovation, industry and employee welfare. Flexible working is at the core of our organisation, whilst our first-hand experience in developing businesses has led us to an understanding of the four finite resources which every aspiring entrepreneur requires, and how flexible working can help them increase their share of each whilst maintaining a productive and healthy balance.

Energy: 

We’ve all experienced the feeling of waking up motivated, with the best of intentions of achieving all our daily goals. However, the rigours of the traditional work structure, often coupled with demanding commutes, deplete our mental and physical energy, leaving little motivation for entrepreneurial pursuits. This cycle can not only leave aspiring entrepreneurs unmotivated, but also highly frustrated.

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For those who somehow manage to summon the energy and motivation to work on personal projects outside of their normal working hours, the effort required can often push them to their limits, taking a toll on their health. Burnout, a pervasive issue in the professional world, can not only lead people to give up on their passion projects, but ultimately leads to, at best, a decrease in motivation, productivity, and overall output in their day-to-day life, and at worse, severe mental and physical health problems.

However, flexible working emerges as a beacon of hope, offering individuals the freedom to set their schedules and work environments. By striking a balance between professional obligations and personal lives, as well as entrepreneurial aspirations, individuals can rejuvenate their energy and focus. This newfound vigour not only leads to more inspired and creative business ventures but also improves spirit and motivation within their main role.

Enhance your ENERGY with Flexible Working: 

Individuals should consider asking for more control over their working hours as well as exploring opportunities to work remotely. This approach can help reduce the cognitive strain of managing work-life balance as well as commuting. Additionally, shifting working hours to allow for longer and more restorative breaks during the middle of the day, helps ensure sufficient time to restore both mental and physical wellbeing.

Time: 

For many aspiring entrepreneurs, time is a scarce resource. Balancing full-time jobs, along with possible family responsibilities, often leaves little room to explore new business opportunities, let alone nurturing them.

Flexible working grants individuals the power to allocate time during the day to tend to their side businesses. Whether it’s responding to unforeseen business needs or communicating with associates at different periods during the day, having the freedom to manage their schedules empowers entrepreneurs to nurture their ventures effectively.

Flexible working helps to erase the boundaries between rigid work hours and personal time, providing the space needed to allow creativity and entrepreneurial ideas to flourish.

Balance your TIME with Flexible Working:

Individuals could aim to negotiate compressed workweeks, allowing them to have dedicated days or afternoons to focus solely on their side businesses. This flexibility can be a game-changer, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with valuable time to plan, strategise, and grow their ventures. Again, remote work and reduced commuting can also help the individual find time to focus on their external projects.

Finance:

Financial constraints are often one of the greatest roadblocks for individuals contemplating entrepreneurship. Quitting a stable full-time job or reducing hours to focus on a new business can pose risks to one’s financial security and access to capital.

However, with the support of employers offering flexible working arrangements, individuals can strike a balance between their main job and entrepreneurial pursuits. This newfound financial security empowers entrepreneurs to take calculated risks, invest in their ventures, and turn their ambitious dreams into tangible business endeavours.

The symbiotic relationship between flexible working and entrepreneurship can lead to economic growth and faster innovation. Entrepreneurs can dedicate time and resources to develop groundbreaking ideas while still contributing to the economy through their primary employment.

Stabilising your FINANCE with Flexible Working:

Flexible work arrangements offer individuals the opportunity to implement the entrepreneurial solutions mentioned previously, whilst simultaneously fulfilling their roles as employees and ensuring their ongoing financial stability. Plus any reduction in commuting, made possible by flexible and remote work options, frees up fundsl that aspiring entrepreneurs can direct towards their business ideas, fostering financial stability and empowering them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams with greater confidence.

Creativity:

Creativity extends far beyond the boundaries of artistic pursuits, and lies at the core of the entrepreneurial spirit. It serves as the driving force behind problem-solving, propelling progress, and empowering businesses to thrive in an ever-changing world. Encouraging experimentation and unconventional thinking is vital for every working professional.

Not only is creativity pivotal for advancing industries and entrepreneurship, but it also plays a crucial role in motivation, self-confidence, and life satisfaction. Nurturing and valuing creativity not only fosters an environment ripe for innovation, but also leads to individuals feeling acknowledged and respected, whilst increasing their loyalty and trust.

In a world where change is the only constant, flexibility in work arrangements becomes a strategic advantage for businesses.Flexible working acts as a catalyst, providing the space, time, and autonomy for individuals and businesses to nurture creativity.

Boost your CREATIVITY with Flexible Working: 

Studies show that people experience variations in creativity and productivity at different times of the day. Individuals should utilise flexible working options by adjusting their working hours, so that they can take advantage of the periods when they feel most creative. Additionally they could negotiate conducive working conditions, such as opportunities for free-flowing ideation and the freedom to work in inspiring environments like co-working spaces or cafes, which could help further enhance their creative potential and expand the opportunities to produce creative solutions for both their entrepreneurial pursuits as well as within their main profession.

Should Employers Really Support Employee Entrepreneurship?

Whilst employers may initially worry that supporting their employees’ entrepreneurial goals could lead to them leaving the organisation if their side business succeeds, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Fostering Employee Loyalty:

Paradoxically, employers who actively support their employees’ entrepreneurial aspirations are likely to foster greater loyalty. By demonstrating that the organisation genuinely cares about their personal growth and success, employees are more likely to feel valued and invested in their current role.

Encouraging Intrapreneurship:

By empowering employees to explore entrepreneurship, employers also encourage intrapreneurship within the organisation. Employees may become more innovative and proactive in their main job, bringing fresh ideas and problem-solving skills to the table.

Building a Culture of Innovation:

Employer support for employee entrepreneurship cultivates a culture of innovation within the organisation. Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit encourages a continuous flow of ideas and promotes a dynamic and forward-thinking workplace.

Retaining High-Potential Employees:

Rather than fearing the potential loss of successful employees, employers can use the opportunity to identify and nurture high-potential individuals. Offering growth and development opportunities, including mentorship and skill-building, can increase the chances of retaining these valuable team members.

Collaboration and Strategic Alignment:

When employees succeed in their side businesses, it opens up possibilities for collaboration and strategic alignment. Employers can explore partnerships or acquisitions that align with their core business and leverage their employees’ entrepreneurial ventures for mutual benefit.

While the fear of losing valuable employees to successful side businesses is understandable, employers who adopt a supportive approach can create a win-win situation. Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit can lead to a more engaged and fulfilled workforce, enhancing overall performance and creating a culture of growth and success.

Conclusion

The UK Flexible Working Bill is poised to reshape the landscape of work, offering individuals newfound freedom and flexibility. Beyond the evident advantages for employee wellbeing, this progressive legislation has the potential to unleash a new wave of entrepreneurial spirit across the country.

As we explore this topic, it becomes evident that flexible working can empower individuals to pursue their dreams while maintaining financial stability and professional obligations. With the support of employers, employees can nurture their side businesses and contribute to a more innovative and dynamic business landscape.

As the UK embarks on this transformative journey, let us embrace the path to a brighter and more prosperous future. By championing flexible working and supporting employee entrepreneurial endeavours, we can unlock the full potential of our workforce and drive economic growth and innovation. The time has come to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging ambitious individuals to chase their dreams and forge a path to success for themselves and the nation as a whole.

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