March 4, 2013
A new report from the Institute of Leadership and Management claims that as many as 94 per cent of UK employers now offer staff some form of flexible working arrangement. The study of more than 1,100 UK managers found that around three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents said their organisation actively supported flexible work practices, 82 per cent were aware of the benefits of flexible working and nearly two thirds (62 per cent) said that senior managers led schemes by example. There is still work to be done in gaining universal acceptance however with 50 per cent of managers claiming flexible working is now standard practice .
The report also demonstrates that there is no sign of a gender divide in take up of schemes with nearly the same amount of men working flexibly (88 per cent) as women (90 per cent).
Signs of inertia in some corporate cultures and a mismatch between employee expectations and policy is evident in the report’s findings that just under a third (32 per cent) of managers would like to work flexibly but are not able to because of the culture of their organisation with 27 per cent reporting that it was not seen as appropriate for managers.
Commenting on the report’s findings Charles Elvin, chief executive of the ILM, said: “Work used to be the place you turned up to – now, it’s increasingly something you can do anywhere, at any time. This is because more and more employers are recognising that a flexible approach to how, where and when their employees work offers real business benefits, including increased staff engagement, reduced overheads and the ability to meet their customer needs more fully. Our research did identify a number of residual cultural barriers, which are preventing some organisations from fully embracing the advantages of flexible working. Negative attitudes towards flexible workers are often prompted by a sense of unfairness and poor communication from senior management on policy.”