‘Line managers are key to flexible working’

Benchmarking exercise highlights need for line manager training on flexible working.

Managing Staff & employees benefits


Line managers are key to enforcing a flexible working culture, but many employers don’t train them about different ways of working, according to a benchmarking exercise by the charity Working Families.

It conducted a voluntary benchmarking exercise with employers representing 450,000 employees. The employers self selected so are likely to be among the most progressive in issues around flexible working.

Working Families found that 41% of employers surveyed said that they analyse all jobs to determine the potential for flexibility before advertising vacancies. The Government is currently considering a requirement for employers to take a part-time and flexible-by-default approach to recruitment.

Almost two thirds of employers who took part in the Benchmark (64%) said that addressing their gender pay gap is their biggest opportunity for developing work-life balance in the coming year and the same number believe that the biggest barrier to flexibility in their organisation is a lack of line manager skills.

While 70% of employers surveyed provide training for line managers on managing flexible working, only 45% make this training compulsory. That means only around a third (31%) of organisations have trained more than half of their managers.

The charity also published a list of its Top Employers for Working Families. Winners were  American Express, the
Crown Prosecution Service, Lloyds Banking Group, Pinsent Masons, Highlands& Islands Enterprise, Experian, DWF, RBS, Southdown Housing and Public Health England.

Meanwhile, a poll for Family Friendly Working Scotland found nearly nine in 10 employers in Scotland who offer flexible working say it has had a positive impact on their business.

The YouGov survey of 257 Scottish business leaders found that among the 200 who offer flexible working, 87% said it has had a positive impact on their business, while half (50%) said it has had a “very positive” impact on the business overall.

Employers reported benefits to the business including increased productivity among workers (37%) and better staff retention (40%).

Nearly a third reported fewer staff were off sick, while other benefits included increased profit (17%) and better employee mental health and wellbeing (40%).

Separate survey data from YouGov for Family Friendly Working Scotland showed that 53% of workers in Scotland work flexibly while a further fifth (19%) do not but would like to do so.



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