May 19, 2017
A growing number of senior managers in the UK public sector feel they are able to enjoy flexible working, although workloads remain a constraining factor, claims a new study by the FDA Union which represents senior civil servants. The study found that nearly all public sector bodies now offer some form of flexible working, but uptake is held back by job pressures. More than one in six managers now say they are able to work flexibly, according to a survey by the FDA union, a figure which has risen markedly over the last year. Nearly all respondents (95 percent) said their employer had flexible working policies in place, a slight increase from the previous year’s survey, when 93 percent of respondents said such policies were in place.
The proportion who said they are unable to work flexibly has fallen, from 47 percent in 2016 to 39 percent in 2017. In both years the most common reason civil servants felt unable to work flexibly was that flexible working would mean taking on more work outside of contracted hours to keep on top of workloads. More than 90 percent of respondents said they already work more than their contracted hours, with 41 percent saying they work more than six hours overtime every week.
The next most common reasons why civil servants felt unable to work flexibly were that flexible working isn’t encouraged at their grade (19 percent) and that the nature of their post is not suitable for flexible working (15 percent).