HR & Management

Demand for flexible working among UK employees is on the rise

3 min read

26 February 2018

Special projects journalist

A recent study has found that the majority of UK employees would appreciate being offered flexible working, with many now preferring this option to a pay rise.

Around three quarters of UK employees claim that flexible working benefits would make a job more appealing, and in fact nearly a third would prefer flexible working to a pay rise.

This is according to Powwownow, which reported that the number of employees that favour flexible working is on the rise – up to 75 per cent from 70 per cent in 2017.

The research also found that the approach to flexible working differs by gender, with 81 per cent of women saying that flexible working would make a job more appealing, and 45 per cent saying they would “strongly prefer” a job with flexible working – compared to 69 per cent of men saying they would view employers offering flexible working more favourably.

Millennial workers are also more likely to want to work flexibly, with 70 per cent citing it on their wish list, compared to only 47 per cent of over 55s.

The increased demand for flexible working could be due to people feeling time-poor – 42 per cent of people feel they don’t have enough time in the week to dedicate to their hobbies, or spend with friends and family. Perhaps surprisingly, Generation Z (those born in the mid-1990s and early 2000s) are the most likely to be strapped for time – with 48 per cent claiming they don’t have enough time to see friends or family during the week.

Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow said: “Businesses who want to attract and motivate the best talent need to recognise that in an increasingly busy digital world, where managing work-life balance is more complex, flexible working is a key consideration for employees applying for a new role.

“Today’s employees are looking for a work-life balance where their career and personal life compliment and support each other. With over 40 per cent of workers indicating they don’t have time for friends and family, it’s clear that employers need to be doing more to support their employees and promote flexible working policies within their organisation.”

There are many reasons that employees might want to work more flexibly. According to a survey from Timewise of people who currently work flexibly, 57 per cent said it gives them more control over their work/life balance, 50 per cent deemed it convenient and 33 per cent said it cuts down on commuting tine.

Some 32 per cent claimed it allows them to enjoy leisure time or study, 29 per cent said it helps with caring duties, while 20 per cent said it fits better with other work commitments. Meanwhile, 14 per cent said it allows them to work around health or disability requirements.