Four in ten (42 per cent) UK employees say working flexibly makes them more productive, according to a new study*.
Despite this, and a legal right to request flexible working, less than three in 10 (29 per cent) UK employees work for companies that operate flexible working schemes for all. One in five companies only allow those of a certain level of seniority to work flexibly.
The lack of productivity growth has been the biggest source of weakness in the UK economy in the decade since the financial crisis. The survey of 2,300 UK employees reveals businesses are discouraging productivity by not offering flexible working, with the North East worst affected.
Fractured approach to flexible working?
One of the main reasons why flexible working has not been incorporated into businesses across the country is down to worries concerning levels of productivity. Many employers wrongly believe productivity will decrease when staff work from home and therefore won’t implement mobile working policies. Yet research conducted by academics at the University of Kent and Vrije University in Amsterdam, which looked at different types of flexible working, found those able to determine their own schedules work harder to compensate for the stigma by colleagues attached to flexible working.
Businesses keeping their employees in the office and not letting them work flexibly is not only damaging their employee’s productivity levels further but impacting their ability to attract talent. A quarter of all employees have turned down a job in the past because the company did not offer flexible working as part of the package. Whilst a further third (31 per cent) would actively do so.
Steve Haworth, CEO at TeleWare, commented,
For many employees, the line between work and their personal life often blurs. Businesses are keen on flexible working policies but have been slow to implement them due to productivity concerns. Contrary to belief, there’s significant evidence that employees work just as hard, or even harder, when working from home.
The UK productivity crisis is showing no signs of slowing down. The tools to support flexible working are available and come in the form of apps, for example, to help employees with their day to day job. Giving employees the option to work flexibly gives them more control over their work schedule which can boost staff morale and ultimately increase productivity.
Interested in talent management and the future of work? We recommend the Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit 2019 and Future of Work Summit 2019.