Over one-third (34%) of UK employers do not offer flexible working options to their employees, even though almost two-thirds (64%) of employees are more likely to remain with a company that offers flexible working, according to Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2017.
The report – which was compiled using survey results from some 500 employers and 2,000 employees – outlines attitudes to workplace pensions, savings and benefits
Despite the relatively low number of employers offering flexible working today, two in three (65%) businesses believe UK employees will generally be working more flexibly in the next five years and 14% of employers vow to look at introducing it next year.
However, there seems to be a difference of opinion between employers as to how that will look.
The most common change employers expect to see is employees no longer working the traditional hours of 9am to 5pm (38%). A further 30% of employers said they think more staff will opt to work from home, while 28% believe technology will play a bigger role and enable staff to reduce the hours they work.
Flexible working is key in achieving top business priorities
Flexible working is a popular option among employees and can be influential in helping a company achieve its business priorities.
Of those employers who said they offer their staff flexible working options, 68% reported their staff are happier as a result, while more than half (51%) said flexible working increased productivity.
From an employee’s perspective, flexible working is important too, with 54% saying it was a key incentive when looking for a new role and 36% saying it is a “deal-breaker” for any new role.
Furthermore, employees who benefit from flexible working think more highly of their employers and their work.
More than a third (37%) of employees said flexible working has increased their happiness and 34% said it had helped them to manage other responsibilities outside of work. Increased productivity (25%) and loyalty (25%) in the workplace were also top answers given by employees when asked how flexible working affected them.
However, despite the obvious benefits, just over a fifth (21%) of employees said they have never initiated a conversation about the practice with their employer – even though it is within their legal rights – because they think their boss will say no.
Nevertheless, 43% of employees said they asked if they could work flexibly and were allowed to do so, while 25% said they had no inclination to.
The most common reasons for employers not to offer flexible working are because they think their business would not operate as efficiently (39%) or they needed the core hours to be covered (30%).
A further 19% thought it would be too expensive to administrate a flexible working policy.
‘Happy staff means more productive staff’.
Premier Choice Healthcare are now seeing more of their SME & Corporate clients putting in place or being asked by their staff to put in place Flexible Working Options. Companies now need to realise that offering the opportunity for flexible working options is high on the wish list for existing and potential new employees, along with Healthcare and Dental cover.
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