Fear factor puts people off requesting flexible working, says survey

Some 51% of employees think asking for flexible working will be viewed negatively by their employer, according to a survey by Digital Mums.

The survey of over 2,000 people found seven in 10 said they would like to have flexible working hours, but only 12% have asked for them in their current job.

Some 42% thought asking for flexi hours would have a negative impact on their career and 44% felt their colleagues would view it negatively. The fear factor was most pronounced amongst 18 to 34 year olds, with two-fifths saying they’d be too nervous or worried to ask for flexible working hours despite eight in 10 wanting this way of working.

Moreover, despite 68% of  those surveyed saying they did not have flexible working, six in 10 said they would be more productive if they could work flexibly and over two thirds said they would be more loyal to a business. Some 75% of 18-24 year olds currently not working said they were more likely to apply for a job with flexible hours over a standard job.

Work that works

The research was commissioned as part of Digital Mums’ #WorkThatWorks Movement, which is campaigning to change the Government’s current definition of flexible working from something that focuses solely on ‘a way of working that suits an employee’s needs’ to ‘work that works for employees and businesses’. They have launched a petition as part of the campaign.

Kathryn Tyler, co-founder Digital Mums, said: “The Government’s ‘right to request’ law will never make an impact while flexible working is seen as a dirty word and an employee perk. We need employers to wake up to fact that flexible working is about attracting and retaining a generation of workers who are being failed by a rigid and restrictive ‘9 to 5 coat-on-chair’ culture.  That’s why we’re calling on everyone to sign our petition to change the Government’s definition so we can clean up the F-word and change the way we work forever.”

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