It’s been over two years since the right to request flexible working was extended to all UK employees with six months’ service. Yet, our new research report, in partnership with My Family Care, the UK’s leading provider of family-friendly employer solutions, has revealed a significant disconnect between the high numbers of people who want to work flexibly and the low numbers of employers who actively embrace it.
Our survey of 1587 UK employees and 310 UK employers found that while over half (54%) of the UK’s working population want the opportunity to work remotely or from home, just a third (34%) were encouraged to, with many feeling a constant stigma around it.
Similarly, there was a big disconnect between the hours that people work and want to work. While just over a third (37%) of people have flexible start and finish times, almost double that (63%) said they wanted flexible start and finish times, suggesting that employers could do a lot more to engage their workforce by introducing flexible working policies.
Flexible working is in such high demand that it’s the top benefit that people look for when considering a new role. 81% look for flexible working options before joining a company, way beyond any other typical benefits such as an enhanced pension scheme (35%), private healthcare insurance (28%) or commission (28%). And in fact, 53% of people would rather have flexible working over a 5% salary increase!
But despite this, only 32% of employers make it standard practice to offer information about their flexible working practices before someone joins their company.
So what can organisations do to improve?