Are we all flexible workers now?

Alison Maitland's picture

Well, not quite. But a large new survey of UK workers demonstrates both the rapid spread of new ways of working and the huge demand for them. A majority of 63% of permanent full time employees are now working flexibly - defined as working a different pattern than 9-5, and/or working virtually some or all of the time, for reasons of choice and balance. Of those not working flexibly, a majority (56%) say they would like to.

The research, Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative, comes from Timewise, which has produced a series of groundbreaking reports in this area in recent years. The survey of 3,000 adults shows that nearly nine in 10 (87%) full time employees either work flexibly or would like to do so. A large majority of both men (84%) and women (91%) are keen to say goodbye to the rigid 9-5 work model, with younger workers wanting change the most.

This further confirms our message that the digital age requires a new model of work, giving people autonomy and choice about hours and location, to the triple benefit of business efficiency, individual wellbeing and motivation, and a cleaner environment.

Employers need to embrace the almost infinite variety of work styles now possible by advertising jobs with full flexibility. The Timewise shows that fewer than 1 in 10 jobs paying at least £20,000 (full time equivalent) are advertised in this way. As Karen Mattison MBE, Timewise joint CEO, says: 'It's time for businesses to get smarter and use flexibility as a tool to attract and keep the best people. Those who lag behind in adapting how they hire will risk losing out on millions of skilled workers.'

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