While you'd think that employers trust their employees to get on with their work and be as productive remotely as they would be in normal office hours, our research says otherwise.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.

As I’m sure many of you have seen, we recently launched our flexible working report, produced in association with My Family Care, the leading provider of family-friendly employer solutions. We surveyed 2370 employees and 441 employers, so a big thanks to all those who contributed in making this a really powerful report.

It’s a topic that close to our hearts here at Hydrogen Group – I’ll be talking about this in my next post – as we firmly believe in the many benefits that flexible working brings. If you had any doubts, I suggest you read the report in detail (link below), to not only find out what our survey respondents said but also what some of our clients are doing to assist their workers.

While you would think that employers trust their employees to get on with their work and be as productive remotely as they would be following normal office hours, the research says otherwise. We found that less than a third of employers (30%) actively promote flexible working and what is even more startling is that over two-thirds (68%) don’t even mention it during the hiring process!

Interestingly, we also found that over half (53%) would actually prefer to work flexibly and would happily forego a 5% pay rise. If ever we were in doubt that financial reward is the be all and end all, this is conclusive evidence that for the workforce of today, working conditions and treatment mean so much.

Changing perception

Millennials or Gen Y are a case in point as they place great value on their work-life balance. In their case, unsurprisingly, we found that they aren’t working as flexibly as their older counterparts but that’s to be expected as they’re in the early stages of their careers. Nevertheless, almost a quarter (24%) said that they wanted to work remotely more than once a week, with over half wanting flexible start and finish times (55%).

One of the big issues to come out of the report is how flexible working is perceived. Staggeringly, almost one in three (28%) employees are not at ease broaching the subject with their line managers. In most cases, there’s a pervading worry among workers that their commitment is questioned, that they might be seen as shirking and that their promotion prospects could be adversely affected. This is in stark contrast to how employers see things – nearly six in 10 (59%) feel that they’ve got a great track record of flexible working.

The bottom line – and I use these words deliberately – is that the benefits of flexible working are significant. Allowing your people to work flexibly, whether for family reasons or work-life balance, means that you’ll have a happier workforce – you don’t need me to tell you that this means improved retention, wellbeing, productivity and of course better talent attraction. The list really does go on.

With 81% of candidates wanting the option to work flexibly, then clearly employers must do more to promote it, both during their hiring processes and internally to staff.

Download the full report (for more facts, top tips and lots more)

Listen back to our webinar.

November 24, 2016