According to a new report from Digital Mums, 7 in 10 (68%) UK employees would like to have flexible working hours but only 12% have asked their current employer for it. This news comes three years on from the introduction of laws by the Government in 2014 to allow everyone the legal right to request flexible working.
The new research suggests the law isn’t working, with over half (51%) of UK employees believing that asking for flexible working hours would be viewed negatively by their employer and a further 42% thinking it would have a negative impact on their career. This fear factor is most significant amongst millennials*, with two-fifths (40%) saying they’d be too nervous or worried to ask for flexible working hours despite 8 in 10 (77%) wanting this way of working.
The report also shows flexible working could be the solution to businesses attracting the best talent. Despite 68% of UK employees still not having access to flexible working, 6 in 10 (61%) UK workers said they would be more productive if they could work flexibly and over two thirds (67%) said they would be more loyal to a business. Significantly, 75% of 18-24 year olds currently not working are more likely to apply for a job with flexible hours over a standard job.
The research was commissioned as part of Digital Mums’ #WorkThatWorks Movement, which aims for flexible working to be seen as the norm for everyone and not just the reserve of a ‘lucky’ few.
To kick-start this societal shift, the social media training company is calling on everyone to sign its ‘Clean Up The F-Word’ petition to change the Government’s current definition of flexible working from something that focuses solely on ‘a way of working that suits an employee’s needs’ to ‘work that works for employees and businesses’.
Kathryn Tyler, co-founder Digital Mums, explained: “The Government’s ‘right to request’ law will never make an impact while flexible working is seen as a dirty word and an employee perk. We need employers to wake up to fact that flexible working is about attracting and retaining a generation of workers who are being failed by a rigid and restrictive ‘9 to 5 coat-on-chair’ culture. That’s why we’re calling on everyone to sign our petition to change the Government’s definition so we can clean up the F-word and change the way we work forever.”
Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “I hope this campaign will mean more businesses recognise the benefits, and dispel some of the myths, about flexible working practices – not only do they make a huge difference to employees’ quality of life, they also enable businesses to better tap into the best pool of talent.”
To voice your support and make a change, sign their petition.
Additional results from the report:
- 73% of millennial employees would be more loyal to a business if they could work flexibly
- 7 in 10 of those currently not working in the UK are more likely to apply for a job offering flexible hours over the traditional ‘9-5’
- 44% of UK employees think requesting flexible working would be viewed negatively by colleagues
- 30% of all working adults are not confident enough to ask for flexible working