Twenty-six employers have written an open letter asking for flexible working to be the norm.
Twenty-six companies employing more than a million people have written an open letter calling for flexible working to be offered as standard to all employees.
The businesses include Santander, TSB, Centrica, Teach First and Network Rail. They urge the UK government to close loopholes allowing employers to refuse requests from staff to work from home.
Steve Collinson of insurer Zurich, another signatory to the letter, said employees should be allowed to work their contracted hours in a way that suited them, making changes when needed. He added: “Since we introduced this, we’ve noticed a big increase in women applying for jobs and in the number of women in senior positions.”
The letter comes as a citizen’s assembly panel of 100 people set up to advise MPs has said employees should be encouraged to work from home to help tackle climate change. Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six parliamentary select committees and asked to examine how the country meets its legal target to cut greenhouse gases to zero overall by mid-century. An interim report shows 93 per cent wanted employers and the government to help people adopt low-emission lifestyles.
Meanwhile, Thames Water has reported an increase in the number of women applying for manual frontline roles after it changed the “masculine” wording of its job adverts. It found that adverts for maintenance staff that used a combination of the words “confident,” “competition” and “champion” led to an overwhelming number of male applicants. Thames Water used an online tool to examine the phrasing of its adverts and found that the job had been inadvertently “masculine coded”. The new wording emphasised the company’s commitment to diversity and spoke of “an excellent opportunity to make a real impact on the delivery of wholesome water.” When the new-look advertisements were circulated the proportion of women applicants rose to 46%.