Workers are focused on shorter hours and more flexible working

New research released today by McDonald’s UK, reveals more than half of UK adults want to move away from traditional working patterns, choosing jobs that enable them to enjoy more flexible working and prioritise commitments outside of work. This study was conducted in July and August, with YouGov as well as with McDonald’s employees. Its key finding is that Jobs that offer earlier starts and a shorter working week most appealing to job seekers; with only 6 percent of people working the traditional ‘9-5’

Key findings

• More than half of people (58 percent) in full-time employment would like to start earlier than 9am and finish earlier than 5pm

• Starting at 8am and finishing by 4pm was the most popular option chosen by 37 percent of respondents – with 21 percent opting for a 7am start, finishing at 3pm

• If given the option, just under half of UK adults (48 percent) would prefer to work a longer day in return for a shorter working week

• A sociable workplace ties with pay as top criteria for ‘good jobs’ among almost two-thirds of all adults (63 percent), closely followed by flexibility to work the hours and patterns that suit (61 percent) and a convenient location (60 percent)

• Flexibility is an everyday part of working life, with almost half (42 percent) of people working flexibly in one form or another, such as job sharing or compressed hours

• It is important to people of all ages and life stages, with four in five parents (78 percent) and students (83 percent) stating that flexible working allows them to juggle work with family commitments and studying

• With a call for more… 7 in 10 people (70 percent) would like to work more flexibly in the future whilst two thirds of employees working flexibly (69 percent) say it encourages them to stay in a job for longer and improves their motivation levels (57 percent). 65 percent of UK workers say it would improve their wellbeing and satisfaction at work

• However, barriers remain. Almost a third of workers (27 percent) don’t believe their employer would let them work flexibly

A survey of 1,000 McDonald’s employees supports the survey’s findings. A social workplace topped their priorities (58 percent), closely followed by the flexibility to work hours that suit them (52 percent). The ability to develop new skills, such as team work and communications skills, was also a key factor for over half (51 percent).

Peter Cheese, CIPD CEO and Co-Chair of the Government’s Flexible Working Task Force, commented: “This survey sheds a strong light on how people increasingly think differently about work, and how work itself is changing. Flexible working is a growing preference for lots of people and provides opportunities to work for many who have other commitments or constraints that make it hard for them to work traditional working patterns. It therefore benefits organisations by giving them access to wider talent pools and creating more inclusive work environments. It’s also clear that employees with access to flexible working arrangements are more likely to be satisfied and committed to their organisation.

“However, more organisations need to think about flexible working as McDonald’s have, as uptake of flexible working is still low and most jobs are not advertised as being open to different working arrangements. While government has a role to play in driving change across the labour market, employers also need to take charge, putting flexible working options in place and improving behaviours and attitudes towards flexible working to create a win-win for individuals and organisations.”