Younger workers believe flexible working is essential for mental health

A young woman enjoys flexible working in a cafeNearly 40 percent of people under the age of 45 who have flexible working believe it has offered marked improvements in their mental health, a survey from Wildgoose claims. The firm conducted a survey of the workers to ask for their thoughts on working culture and the impact it has on a range of life outcomes. Employees from 114 companies from all backgrounds gave their answers anonymously. According to the study, the results highlight the reasons employees are looking for jobs that offer a degree of flexibility in terms of times and places of work.

14.3 percent of employees not currently allowed to work flexibly indicated that they are actively considering a career move to an organisation that would offer them a flexible work culture. This figure rises to 21 percent of parents in the same situation. With 62 percent of employees taking days off in the past year for mental health reasons, many employers want to do more to support mental health in the workplace. Flexible working is well publicised, though employers should start by understanding why their employees want flexible working for a better work/life balance.

Selecting the personal and professional reasons for their company to start offering flexible working as a way to improve employee lifestyle, the majority of respondents stated that it would help maintain a good work-life balance (70 percent). Second most prevalent reason was being reassured if an urgent situation arose, it could be resolved without affecting work (53 percent), followed by feeling as sense of value and trust from the employer (43 percent)

Respondents identified the benefits of flexible working:

• 39 percent of the people surveyed who work flexibly see a noticeable improvement in their mental health

• The benefit of flexible working that 70 percent were most grateful for was it provides them with a good work-life balance. This is something that a similar number (69 percent) of those without flexible working crave.

• 68 percent of parents (who can work flexibly) feel it’s vitally important in helping them to juggle both work and family life.

• 51 percent of those without flexible working want the ability in order to ease childcare pressures

• 30.4 percent of those who do currently work flexibly cannot work without it and would leave their job were this taken away from them.

• 42.9 percent of people who currently don’t have access to flexible working, suggested that having the ability to do so would allow them to maintain or even boost their productivity levels.