The CIPD is urging for flexible working arrangements to be made available for all employees, from day one in a job. This comes after research reveals almost half of workers do not currently have access to flexible working. 

New research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional body for HR and people development, reveals that almost half of workers (46 per cent) stated that they do not have access to flexible working arrangements. This includes flexi-time, compressed hours, job shares and part-time hours.

This survey also found that under half of employees (44 per cent) have not worked from home at all since the beginning of the crisis. Over nine out of 10 workers (92 per cent) stated that this was because the nature of their job did not allow them to do so.

Despite this, this may be causing resentment to rise amongst certain groups. Over two in five (41 per cent) of employees felt it was unfair that some people can work from home while others have to continue to attend their place of work and have little flexibility in how they work.

It is evident that HR may need to put into place alternative arrangements to accommodate employees as three quarters of workers (75 per cent) stated it was important that employees who could not work from home were permitted to work flexibly in other ways.

Without doing so, there is a significant risk of employee engagement falling and employee relations worsening, with workers feeling like their demands are not being met by their employers.

However, when employers were questioned, only three in 10 (30 per cent) are planning to try to increase the uptake of other forms of flexible working besides home working over the next six to 12 months.

CIPD research also shows a substantial gap between what employees want to be implemented and what is introduced by employers. Flexi-time is used by a fifth of employees (21 per cent) but desired by almost double this amount (39 per cent). Additionally, part-time hours are currently used by 19 per cent but desired by 28 per cent of workers.

Due to this, the CIPD is launching a new campaign, entitled  #FlexFrom1st, encouraging employers to support flexible working for all and the right to request flexible working from day one of employment.

In specific, the body is calling on employers to work in collaboration with employees to find flexible solutions that are mutually beneficial. By doing so, the CIPD states that employers will reap the benefits of higher employee productivity, retention and will tap into a diverse pool of talent when recruiting.

To solidify this, the CIPD is also urging the Government to introduce a change in law which would make the right to request flexible working a day-one right for all employees. The body is also calling for employers to advertise flexible working as part of job adverts.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, comments:

While many have hailed the pandemic as a driver for the adoption of flexible working practices, particularly around home working, the reality for many is that this is not the case. We need a new understanding about what flexible working is and we need employers to embrace flexible working arrangements beyond home working, to give opportunity and choice to all. Employees may not always be able to change where they work, but they should have more choice and a say in when and how they work.

Being able to build in flexible working arrangements, such as changes to hours, term-time working or job shares, will empower people to have greater control and flexibility in their working life. This is good for inclusion and opening up opportunities to people who have other constraints in being able to work standard hour weeks or in getting to a place of work. But it’s also good for people’s wellbeing and productivity. Fairness of opportunity in working flexibly ensures organisations do not end up with divisions or a two-tier workforce.


* The CIPD surveyed over 2000 employees to obtain these results.