Employees still reluctant to approach bosses for flexible working, finds report

More than half (54 per cent) of the UK employees would like to work from home, but just a third (34 per cent) actually do, according to research by flexible working consultancy My Family Care and recruitment firm Hydrogen.

Employees would sacrifice a five per cent salary increase for the chance to work flexibly. Photo credit: Fotolia 

The competitive advantage of flexible and family-friendly working report surveyed 1,587 UK employees and 310 UK employers. It found that over a quarter (28 per cent) of employees said they did not feel comfortable talking to their employer about introducing a more fluid working pattern. 

Respondents listed being seen as less committed and it having an impact on their chances of future promotions and pay increases as the top reasons.

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The report also highlighted that 87 per cent of employees and 92 per cent of employers think that those who work flexibly are just as, if not more, productive than those who work regular hours.

Ben Black, director of My Family Care, said: “With so many of any given workforce having some kind of caring or family responsibility, the benefits of flexible working are vast.

“With the rising number of working mothers in the UK, the increase in pension age, a rapidly ageing population – and the emergence of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ where individuals are called upon to care for both their children and elderly relatives – businesses need to see the value in offering flexible working to attract and retain top quality staff. 

“The ‘bums on seats’ culture is on the way out. Flexible working is the future; it should not even be seen as a ‘benefit’ but simply the best way of getting things done: it helps individuals create a happy and healthy work-life balance that is essential to get the very best out of an individual.” 

The research also outlined the key benefits of flexible working as: productivity, the ability to attract and retain top talent,  a better work-life balance and happier employees. 

Ian Temple, CEO of Hydrogen, said: “The way we work is radically changing in our digitally connected world. However, our research has found that while demand is very high for flexible working, many companies are not capitalising on this by encouraging it through the marketing of their roles or promoting it internally, which would increase the pool of talent they could attract.”

My Family Care estimates that over a third of the UK’s workforce  are working parents and carers. More than half (53 per cent) of employees would sacrifice a five per cent salary increase for the chance to work flexibly.

Lucy Smith, a Payroll and Benefits Manager who was interviewed as part of the research, said that flexible working had helped her architecture firm to both retain and attract talent.

She said: “Flexible working has most certainly been a positive thing. It’s given our staff the chance for an improved work life balance, which is obviously crucial if they have children or care for somebody or if they have other commitments…. This gives them the power to do everything; they can get in early, leave early and do their class without needing to take an official half day.”



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