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How popular is it?
A lot of employers are starting to offer flexible working as a perk, but many are happier sticking with the traditional nine-to-five office hours approach. A Powwownow survey found that 47 per cent of employees don’t have a flexible working structure encouraged at their workplace.
However, any employee that has worked for the same employer for 26 weeks is eligible to request a flexible working structure – and employers are obliged to deal with applications for flexible working in a reasonable manner.
Is it better to be flexible?
Flexible working acknowledges that employees have a life outside of the office, and a nine-to-five job plus a commute can take up a considerable portion of the day.
A Powwownow survey also found that almost 45 per cent of people spend over an hour commuting a day, which can lead to increased stress levels – 66 per cent of commuters say they feel stressed or flustered at least once a week1 . Flexible working can enable employees to travel at off-peak times or avoid dreaded journeys altogether.
Parents and carers often need a more flexible approach to working hours to allow them to fulfil all of their obligations, and many other employees appreciate the flexibility simply as a perk. In fact, 67 per cent of employees wish they were offered flexible working1 .
It can also be a handy tool when it comes to recruitment and staff retention – 70 per cent of respondents to the survey claimed that being offered a flexible working structure makes a job more attractive to them. In addition, 30 per cent of people would rather have flexible working than a pay rise – so it can be a cost-effective way to make employees feel valued at work.
Naturally, some managers will always be concerned that employees are more likely to be idle when they are not under close scrutiny. However, 58 per cent of people believe that working away from the office would actually make them feel more motivated.