40 per cent of UK employees are still not offered flexible working as part of their company’s policies, according to research by conference call and video call provider PowWowNow carried out with Censuswide.
The survey found 67 per cent of those employees wish flexible working was available to them in their current role. The number of employees not offered flexible working has gone up by a third from last year when 33 per cent of UK employees were not offered flexible working, signalling that the UK has gone backwards on offering the initiative despite its popularity amongst workers.
Since coronavirus, many office workers have been able to work from home and have proven that they are just as productive remotely as they are in the office. New data reveals that 62 per cent of decision makers said productivity levels have increased at their company since lockdown and with investments in technology, 72 per cent of decision makers believe their business can now adequately support their staff when working remotely. 70 per cent have also said they would increase the amount of flexibility their workforce has when we return to the office. These statistics indicate that productivity is not negatively impacted by flexible working— in fact, it has been a positive.
This year, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has meant unprecedented numbers of employees have worked from home during the government-imposed lockdown. With many employees admitting they wish they were offered more flexible working, the pandemic has provided more workers with the confidence they need to request it. Flexible working allows more flexibility over the hours staff work to improve work-life balance and especially support those with parenting or caring responsibilities.
Though the right to Request Flexible Working legislation came into force six years ago, only 4 in 10 UK businesses offered flexible working prior to the pandemic. With the business benefits of the recent mass remote working experience during lockdown now evident, PowWowNow encourages companies to seize this moment and make flexible working the norm going forwards.
Andrew Johnson, Managing Director of PowWowNow, said: “It is evident that flexible working does not negatively impact the productivity of a workforce, and actually not having to spend time commuting can improve the productivity of a team. It will take time for offices to phase back to normality; the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has had devastating consequences for lives and the economy, but it has also reminded us how important it is to take care of our mental and physical wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic businesses have invested heavily in technology to enable employees to work flexibly, and now they must continue to offer their workforce the chance to choose how they work; whether that’s from the office, remotely or flexibly, in order to reflect the growing demand for flexibility and to reap the benefits of their workforce living a well-balanced home and work life.”