Majority of parents want Covid flexible working to last

A new Working Families survey shows that parents want flexi changes during lockdown to stay.

A woman sits at her desk with hand sanitiser and face mask in the foreground


More than nine in 10 working parents and carers want their workplace to retain flexible working post-Covid-19, according to a new survey.

The survey by Working Families of over 1,000 UK parents and carers of children aged 18 and under shows that whilst only 65% of respondents had flexible working opportunities before the pandemic, 84% are now working flexibly.

Of the parents and carers surveyed who weren’t working flexibly before lockdown, one in five intend to put in a formal request to work from home more in the future, with one in 10 planning to formally request changes to their working hours and patterns.

The most common flexible working arrangements that parents and carers reported during lockdown were working more from home (63%) and flexing their hours (52%).  The survey also showed that 48% of parents and carers surveyed said they planned to make changes to their working patterns to work more flexibly after Covid-19. However, 13% of parents and carers surveyed said they would like to make changes to their working patterns, but didn’t think it would be an option.

Nevertheless, some parents reported that their employers were sympathetic. Twenty-eight percent of parents and carers said their employer plans to allow more working from home after the lockdown and 10% said their employer plans to support staff to flex their hours across the working week.

Working Families says the results show parents want more autonomy to flex their hours,  more flexibility over where they work from and a cultural shift in attitudes to flexible working.

It wants the Government to ensure that employers are advertising jobs with flexible options as the norm wherever possible and to help ensure they are taking a strategic, organisation-wide approach to better job design.  It is also urging the Government to review and strengthen the statutory Right to Request Flexible Working, including reviewing the length of time employers currently have to consider requests.

Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families, said: “It is vital that the Government acts to ensure that the progress made around flexible working during lockdown is extended, not reversed, for all parents, and that employers can harness the increases in productivity, talent attraction, and diversity that flexible working will bring to the UK economy. We simply can’t go back to a time where long hours and being the last person in the office are seen as a mark of success.”




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