More and more people are wanting to work flexibly - but according to a study by employment law specialists Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, one in five of us are reluctant to talk to our bosses about the possibility.
Here are a few statistics you can arm yourself with when you decide the time is right to talk to the powers that be about going flexible.
You’re not alone in your desire to work flexibly. According to a study from Powwownow, 75% of us now list flexibility as a priority when it comes to considering a new role - up from 70% last year. And millennials are much more likely to want flexibility than their 55+ counterparts, which suggests that it’s only going to become more important for future generations in terms of differentiating employers. If businesses want to attract and retain the best talent for the future, embracing flexible working is going to have to be a core part of their recruitment strategy and not just an optional extra.
2. Increased flexibility = increased diversity = 15% more likely to have above average financial returns
According to a report by McKinsey&Company, “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians”. And while flexibility isn’t solely a female issue, with women still doing more childcare than men and being more likely to want to work part time, offering flexibility is bound to help you attract, retain and progress female talent.
A study of 1,001 employees by Canada Life Group Insurance showed that we’re more productive when we work flexibly. Specifically, those who worked from home rated their productivity at an average of 7.7/10 compared to 6.5/10 for office workers. Not only that but just 17% of participants who worked from home were likely to suffer from workplace stress, compared to 37% of those who worked in cubicles and 32% in open plan offices. By allowing flexible working practices, employers help their teams manage stress, which has a positive knock on effect on the business - as well as boosting attraction and retention rates.
The same Canada Life survey showed that home workers take fewer sick days than those who work in the office - just 1.8 per year compared to 3.1. But it’s not just about working from home. All types of flexibility give employees more control over the balance of their lives, whether it means they can get their kids to school without having to rush to a breakfast club, or indulge in their favourite hobby more often. This input into their wellbeing will naturally have an impact on stress levels. And with mental health issues including stress being listed as the third most common cause of absenteeism in the UK by the ONS - resulting in 15.8 million days lost - the conclusion is obvious.
By now your manager should be pretty convinced that flexible working will make you and your teammates more motivated, less stressed, more productive and generally happier at work and in life. Which will inevitably make you far less likely to leave your job. In other words, providing flexibility reduces employee turnover rates. And with ACAS reporting that the cost of replacing just one employee stands at £30,000, that can only be a good thing for the business.
Armed with these statistics, you should be far more confident about approaching your manager with a flexible working request. And don’t forget, the law is on your side. Ask for a meeting, prepare your case in advance, stick to the facts and you’ll be just fine.
If you’re looking for a new flexible working opportunity, why not register with us today?