New laws that come into effect at the end of June 2014 will spark a surge in flexible working in the UK, a recent survey of British workers suggests. firstname.lastname@example.org
The human resource consultancy Croner commissioned the poll which was conducted by YouGov and found that over a quarter of UK workers would ask their employers to work on a flexible basis if they had the option. And that enthusiasm for flexible working is expected to translate into active requests at companies across the country when drafted legislation becomes law at the end of June.
Currently, the right to request flexible working is only in place for employees with children under the age of 17 or those who are carers. But from June 30th, that right is being extended to all members of a workforce who have been employed at a given company for 26 weeks or more.
Flexible working has already become an important tool for many employers in Britain who have used it to create improved relations with their staff. The shift towards working from home is motivated by a number of different factors and it has had the knock-on effect of making meeting rooms in the UK an increasingly important part of the way contemporary companies operate. That trend now looks set to continue as more and more of us move away from the traditional office-based 9 to 5 workday routine.
For its part, the government expects to see the new laws and greater access to flexible working help to generate a greater degree of employee loyalty among workforces around the country.
“Once the trust and change of mind set has been established the rewards of a flexible work force will become clear,” said Richard Smith, Croner’s head of employment law.
“Bosses should also note that if there is a genuine business reason, they can turn down requests [for flexible working], but they will need to prove that they have been considered fully and the process well documented,” he added.
According to Croner’s survey findings, 63 per cent of Brits believe that having the option of working on a flexible basis helps deliver a better work-life balance among employees and 42 per cent said it improves morale. More than a quarter of respondents who took part in the recent survey also said they felt flexible working not only improves morale but actively enhances productivity and can help reduce sickness and absence in the workplace.
The study also discovered that employees aged between 18 and 24 are among those most keen to work in a more flexible manner. Women were found to be more likely than men to request the opportunity to work at home or on the basis of contracts involving fewer hours each week.
It remains to be seen just how much of the apparent interest in flexible working among British workers will be turned into a reality and into a better work-life balance for employees around the country.
Edited and produced by Stephen Moore – Marketing Director
Stephen Moore is the Global Marketing Director for meetingrooms.com and Search office Space. An active blogger and article writer, Steve has also appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 2 Drivetime, Sky News and France 24 amongst others talking about business, commercial property and marketing.
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