Over half (53%) of employees would sacrifice a 5% salary increase for the chance to work flexibly

flexibility

Since the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees two years ago, there seems to still be a significant disconnect between the high numbers of people who want to work flexibly and the low numbers of employers who actively embrace it. This is according to new research from My Family Care and global recruiters Hydrogen.

The report revealed that 81% look for flexible working options before joining a company, way beyond any other typical benefit such as an enhanced pension scheme (35%), private healthcare insurance (28%) or commission (28%). In fact, 53% of employees would rather have flexible working over a 5% salary increase.

Moreover, while just over a third (37%) of people have flexible start and finish times, almost double that (63%) said they wanted flexible start and finish times, suggesting that employers could do a lot more to engage their workforce by introducing flexible working policies.  The prioritisation of flexible working when looking for a new role was particularly true amongst parents of young children with 86% saying so, while 81% of adult dependant carers agreed.

Ben Black, director of My Family Care said: “With so many of any given workforce having some kind of caring or family responsibility, the benefits of flexible working are vast. With the rising number of working mothers in the UK, the increase in pension age, a rapidly ageing population – and the emergence of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ where individuals are called upon to care for both their children and elderly relatives – businesses need to see the value in offering flexible working to attract and retain top quality staff.

“The ‘bums on seats’ culture is on the way out. Flexible working is the future; it should not even be seen as a ‘benefit’ but simply the best way of getting things done: it helps individuals create a happy and healthy work-life balance that is essential to get the very best out of an individual.”

The survey also found that while over half (54%) of the UK’s working population want to work remotely or from home, just a third (34%) were encouraged to, with many feeling a constant stigma around it - with more women (26%) than men (18%) worrying that working flexibly would impact on their career prospects. However, the research found that flexibility itself was equally important to both genders.

The top five benefits of flexible working were outlined to be productivity, the attraction of top talent, talent retention, a better work-life balance and happier employees. In fact, 87% of employees and 92% of employers believed that those who work flexibly are just as, if not more, productive than those who work regular hours.