Many tax professionals simply assume that the best jobs are available in urban areas and those looking for work will often move into cities or commute long distances in the belief that only a large city can offer them great career prospects and quality of work. However this overlooks some of the real advantages of working in a rural setting. For firms based in out of town areas, it can be a challenge to encourage great employees to take on roles – but the advantages are many, it is simply a case of pointing them out.
In a study carried out by the Institute of Leadership and Management in July 2014, it was found that 90% of top managers work longer than their contracted hours and 13% complete more than two days of unpaid overtime per week. This may include skipped lunches, coming in early or going home late and working from home. It doesn't even take into account long commutes.
These figures indicate that that something about the UK culture of work has to change and that many employees will be happy for that change to take place.
One important way that a rural business can sell itself, is by offering a new way of looking at the work/life balance. People who work closer to their homes and who do not commute to large cities find that they are fresher when they do work, they can more easily commit to more hours when needed, they feel less stress and they are able to balance their home commitments with their work commitments more easily.
A rural worker is also offering their services in a smaller marketplace. They are not competing against a huge city full of eager applicants – but that does not mean that they lack ambition or talent. They recognise that they are working with local people, they develop relationships and they know their market well. They care more about the company they work for and wish to enhance how it is seen within the community. This cannot be underestimated.
While a local employee can offer business huge advantages, the employee will still need some incentives to make that break from working in a large city. This doesn't have to mean more salary. Remember that your employee is already saving on commuting costs and that they are willing to trade off money against more leisure time. However, they may require good parking or transport solutions and certainly they will look favourably on a more flexible working.
Workers take on these local jobs because they want to spend more time at home. Flexible working allows them to do this and studies have shown that productivity increases by up to 30% for those people who work from home regularly. It certainly makes sense to understand the reasons your employees are choosing to work closer to their homes – it is about family time, leisure time and combining this with work in a sensible and profitable way. As an employer you need to find ways to balance this.
Creating a working environment that works for your employees is the best way to attract the best talent. If you fear that the best people are being snapped up by urban centres, spare a thought for the workers themselves. They are giving up their time, spending money on commuting, becoming increasingly stressed and disillusioned with their working life and they are looking to change. That change might be just on their doorstep. Offer what they want and they will come..