More than a quarter (28%) of respondents say that the ability to work flexibly has been a factor in them remaining with their current employer, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Its Employee outlook April 2016: Focus commuting and flexible working, which surveyed 1,051 working adults in the UK, also found that 54% of respondents say flexible working has enabled them to achieve a better work-life balance, and 29% that it helps them to reduce the amount of stress or pressure they are under.
In addition, 23% of respondents say that flexible working helps them to reduce the amount of time they spend commuting, 22% that it enables them to manage childcare responsibilities and 22% that they are able to invest more time in friends and family.
The research also found:
- The main obstacles identified by respondents to employers providing, or increasing the use of, flexible-working arrangements are the nature of work employees do in their organisation (27%); negative attitudes among senior managers (15%) and negative attitudes among line managers and supervisors (14%).
- The most common forms of flexible working provided by respondents’ employers are part-time working (62%), flexi-time (34%) and the ability to work from home on a regular basis (24%).
- 69% of respondents living in London who work flexibly report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 52% that do not work flexibly.
- 24% of flexible workers living in London say they feel under excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week, compared to 42% of respondents living in the capital who do not work flexibly.
- 23% of London-based respondents are very satisfied with their work-life balance, compared to 10% who do not work flexibly.
David D’Souza, head of CIPD London, said: “There’s a clear divide in the quality of working lives between London workers who work flexibly and those that don’t. The London 2012 Olympics was supposed to have heralded a new dawn for flexible working in the capital but progress appears to have stalled, significantly impacting the quality of people’s working lives and their productivity.
“Flexible workers are happier workers but there is still far too much focus on traditional nine-to-five work cultures and an ongoing challenge of businesses placing too much value on time spent at the desk and not enough on people’s actual outputs.
“Where Londoners are working flexibly, this is mostly restricted to part-time working or flexi-time unless they are a middle or senior manager. Rather than being the preserve of more senior managers, the opportunity to work flexibly in different ways needs to become the norm for many more employees.
“The nature of work is changing. We need real action on flexible working from government, the new Mayor of London and from businesses.
“As new generations enter the labour market with different expectations about how they want to work and older generations stay in work longer, the rigid working habits too many employers still abide by will have to change. Of course, some people are restricted in their ability to work flexibly because of the nature of their jobs but far too often it’s the attitudes of managers and business leaders that are the major obstacles to increasing the use of different types of flexible working.”