When it comes to flexible working, attitudes towards freelancing, working from home, and part-time work patterns have certainly been changing in Britain recently. Though there are still many myths surrounding flexible working and comparisons to full-time jobs; employees and employers are gradually starting to embrace flexible work culture.
Work-life balance has become a major talking point in the support for flexible working with more and more full-time employees perceiving flexible work as being a way to split their time productively between the office and spending some quality time with their families. It is looking more and more like flexible work culture could define Britain’s working habits in the near future.
Flexible Working and the British Workforce
TimeWise’s recent study, Flexible Future for Britain, shows that 8.7 million full-time employees would rather work flexibly which demonstrates the desire for employees to feel more empowered about their work-life options. Other key findings of this report reveal the following:
- 4 million workers work remotely from home.
- 1 in four UK employees work part time.
- There are 1.4 million female employees who work from home and at least 2.6 million men who work from home.
- Two in five employees are hesitant to ask their employers for flexible work shifts.
Employer Attitudes towards Hiring Flexible Workers
This research defines flexible working as being ‘any pattern of work, other than going into an office for five full days a week.’ Bearing this definition in mind, the study polled 500 managers in the UK in regards to flexible working and recruitment. The following quote from a manufacturing manager demonstrates some of the obstacles that potential flexible workers are facing in Britain today:
“I feel that if a job is advertised as ‘full time’ then that is what it is and the candidate shouldn’t even have the audacity to ask at interview stage for flexible hours.”
This comment is a pretty hard-line approach to flexible working which shows that there are some employers who completely dismiss the very idea of remote working or part time work shifts. Additional findings of this research reveal that:
- 7 in 10 managers believe that flexible workers are not used enough in the workplace.
- 57% of managers admitted that if a conversation in regards to flexible working occurred during the interview process, it usually happened half way through the interview.
- 91% of mangers divulged that they were happy to talk about flexible working during the interview process.
- 1 in 5 employers stated that there are no flexible job roles available within their company.
Concluding statements of this research suggest that employers and recruiters make finding flexible work more complicated for candidates and that employers are not indicating clearly whether or not flexible working will be accepted.
Even though flexible working is on the increase in Britain it does look like there is still a long way to go with millions of full time employees still keen to explore their options when it comes to remote working. Additionally job seekers are still not finding it easy to secure flexible work. Like this study has rightfully pointed out, employers and recruiters are still not giving candidates clear options about remote working. Even though many are more than happy to talk about it as a possibility – it appears they still shying away from boosting the UK’s flexible workforce.