British businesses are underestimating the lure of flexible working

Rebecca Smith
Rather work outside for some fresh air? You're not alone
Rather work outside for some fresh air? You're not alone (Source: Getty)

Britain's businesses aren't tapped into the draw of flexible working, with 87 per cent of UK workers keen to work flexibly, or currently doing so already.

According to a study of 3,000 people by Timewise and EY, firms have underestimated the demand for working patterns outside of the conventional nine to five routine.

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The research found nearly two-thirds of full-time employees work flexibly. There was a strong preference for non-traditional working patterns among both male (84 per cent) and female (91 per cent) full-time workers.

Timewise said this busted the "mum myth" about who works flexibly and why.

Karen Mattison, joint chief executive at Timewise, said:

The fact that flexible working has been seen as a women’s issue has not done women or businesses any favours.

Today’s new research shows once and for all, that flexible working is a preferred way of working for both men and women at all stages of their working lives.

Today’s workforce not only expect it, but they need it. It’s time for businesses to get smarter and use flexibility as a tool to attract and keep the best people. Those who lag behind in adapting how they hire, will risk losing out on millions of skilled workers.

Timewise found that under one in 10 quality jobs, defined as paying £20,000 full-time equivalent or above, was advertised as being open to flexible working options, indicating employers were out of step with workers on the demand for flexible working.

Reasons for wanting a different way of working included the reduction of commuting times, allowing more free time and helping with caring for children and other dependents.

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