EHRC releases strategy aimed at encouraging flexible working as employers frown upon it

 

Michael Page has released new consumer research that reveals 84% of office-working millennials fear criticism from their employer for working flexibly from home, even though 76% confirmed that their employer does have options for flexible working.

On the same day, the Equality and Human Rights Commission released a strategy paper that includes recommendations on flexible working to address pay gaps.

This is all also in the context of recent reports that show the UK falling behind in the global drive for flexible working.

The research and strategy findings reveal the reality of flexible working for UK office workers, which is at odds with their expectations. Almost 60% believe flexible working should be standard, and 45% see a disconnect between the flexible benefits on offer and what they want, need and expect.

62% also highlight that their ability to work flexibly hasn’t improved – or worsened in the last 12 months.

Michael Page consulted 1,000 office workers aged 18-27, of whom 60% felt judged or penalised for asking to work flexibly. And, of those, almost half felt that judgement come from management or senior leadership.

43% feel that flexible working is less a right and more a privilege reserved for senior colleagues, at odds with the view outlined by the government in 2014. Two thirds of those asked believe they are discouraged from working flexibly while those with families are encouraged.

20% report being actively refused the option to work flexibly.

The data points to businesses not buying into the spirit of or offering flexible working options for all.

Oliver Watson, Executive Board Director for UK and North America at PageGroup, commented:

“There is a clear and increasing demand for flexible working options among UK employees, especially from the newest generation of workers. As this ‘Generation FL-X’ continues to enter the workplace, businesses must prioritise accommodating the expectations of all employees, and challenge the old school stigma that still appears to prevail.

“Placing restrictions on flexible working – encouraging or excluding certain employees – is counter-intuitive. Truly flexible working should be open to all, indiscriminate of age, gender, seniority or role.

“For flexible working to really move forward in the UK, employers must shift their thinking from ‘presenteeism’ to productivity. By empowering employees to take charge of their productivity – something 46% of respondents called out as a benefit of flexible working – businesses will not only be rewarded with increased employee loyalty, but a much more efficient workforce and a high trust, high performance culture.”

 
 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

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