benefitsA survey by HR recruiter, Ortus, of some 450 professionals found that nine in ten think flexible working will become the dominant employment model in the near future.

Despite this, just 12% deem flexible working to be a vital benefit, which is lower than the proportion who said a free company mobile phone is vital to them (18%).

The survey also revealed that respondents feel that flexible working is more likely to be introduced for business reasons, rather than because of its benefits to the workforce.

Findings show that 51% of those surveyed felt the most common reason for the growth of flexible working was efficiency and productivity, while 12% believe that flexible working was being implemented in order to help employees cope with the number of hours they work.

Respondents to the survey ranked a number of benefits in the following order:

  • 25 days’ holiday (40%);
  • company pension scheme (29%);
  • annual bonus scheme (24%);
  • smartphone (18%);
  • insurance (16%); and
  • flexible working (12%).

Results also suggested that employees are unaware of the right to ask for flexibility, with just a third of those questioned saying that this was something their company offered, whereas Government statistics estimate that 91% of employers offer flexible working.

Commenting on the results, Ortus UK Director, Stephen Menko, said:

“These findings suggest HR professionals have their work cut out for them in convincing staff of the relative merits of flexible working. The business case is obvious as it allows for efficiency savings on office costs and greater output.

“However, the benefit to the individual of a better work-life balance and less time and money spent commuting are, perhaps surprisingly, ranked low, and maybe HR needs to convey this cost-effective benefit in a more compelling way.”

Menko continued:

“Widespread flexible working could be a seismic shift in the way work is conducted and it is that rare beast – a change that benefits everyone. Staff just need to be convinced of this point, or at least have it raised on their radar as a benefit they can request.”