July 16, 2013
The latest salvo in the battle to get Britain to adopt even more flexible working comes in a report that carries more weight than some because it is not solely the work of a technology company but sponsored by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). True, it’s co-sponsored by Vodafone but that is the way of these things. The RSA study estimates that flexible working practices shaped around the personal circumstances of the individual and designed to minimise the routine grind of commuting could give people around 5 more hours per week in which to work.
The study claims that although flexible working is already widespread in the UK, around 13 per cent of people actively want more flexible working which would yield around £8 billion in economic benefits, equivalent to around 0.5 percent of GDP.
The detailed findings of the report are available as part of a free published document called The Flex Factor which you can download here. In the survey of 2,828 employees and senior managers, over three quarters (77 percent) reported that flexible working arrangements of one kind or another are available in their workplace. Over half (55 percent) of employees reported that they could work flexibly with or without their manager’s approval and/or have flexibility built into their job design.
Among those employees of the quarter (23 percent) of organisations who do not offer flexible working well over half (57 percent) would take it up if it were available. The report concludes that this means that around 13 percent of the working population are not working in a way they would prefer, creating the ‘adoption gap’ which the report concludes provides such an enormous opportunity for businesses and individual in the UK.