Half of workers say they are ready to take advantage of new flexible working laws

more than half (55 percent) of respondents to a poll are planning to make a new request for flexible working when new rules come into UK law this weekendBusinesses are being advised to brace themselves as a new poll claims more than half (55 percent) of respondents are planning to make a new request for flexible working when new rules come into UK law this weekend. The changes introduced by the Flexible Working Bill on April 6 – allowing workers to ask for flexible forms of work from day one of their employment (previously six months)  – look set to lead to a sharp increase in flexible working requests even though 74 percent of employees report already having some degree of flexibility. 

The research conducted among 1,000 UK desk workers by Slack, set out to ‘help businesses anticipate what the rule changes could mean to them and better understand employee expectations when it comes to work’. Today, many such employees regularly work from home (56 percent), have flexible working days (54 percent), or work a four-day week (30 percent). Yet a quarter of people (25 percent) are not currently offered flexible working.

The majority of desk based workers believe the ability to work flexibly boosts their productivity (80 percent) and will help their company grow quicker (74 percent). Yet the top reasons for employees believing their employers have declined requests for flexible work, are due to concerns it may negatively impact productivity (17 percent) and work quality levels (17 percent).

Businesses that do not meet employee expectations when it comes to flexibility risk losing talent. 70 percent of workers are more likely to apply for a job based on the company’s flexible working policy – increasing to 76 percent for those aged 18-34.

Despite over three quarters (78 percent) of managers and above understanding what the Flexible Working Bill means for them and the organisations they work for, many (57 percent) are concerned about receiving new and more requests for flexible working. And a staggering 72 percent of businesses have not yet proactively shared information on the latest rules with their employees.

Right now, employees are most comfortable making a request for the following:

  • Flexible hours (76 percent)
  • Work from home (70 percent)
  • Compressed hours (65 percent)

The study also claims that employees least comfortable requesting:

  • Work outside of the UK (45 percent)
  • Job sharing (40 percent)
  • Work a four-day week (33 percent)

Image: Bisley