Majority want flexible hours, says survey

More than half of UK adults want to move away from traditional 9-5 working patterns, choosing jobs that enable them to work more flexible hours and prioritise commitments outside of work, according to new research released today by McDonald’s UK.

The survey of over 4,200 adults conducted by YouGov – just under half of whom were currently in work – found that early starts and finishes were favoured by many. While only 6% were working 9-5, some 58% of people in full-time employment said they would like to start earlier than 9am and finish earlier than 5pm: 37% said they favoured starting at 8am and finishing by 4pm while 21% opted for a 7am start, finishing at 3pm.

If given the option, just under half of adults (48%) would prefer to work a longer day in return for a shorter working week.  Those surveyed said social workplaces,  jobs which are closer to home and pay were their top priorities. A sociable workplace ties with pay as top criteria for ‘good jobs’ among two-thirds of all adults (63%), closely followed by flexibility to work the hours and patterns that suit (61%) and a convenient location (60%).

Almost half (42%) of people surveyed were working flexibly in one form or another, such as job sharing or doing compressed hours. Seventy-eight per cent of parents and eighty-three per cent of students stated that flexible working allows them to juggle work with either family commitments or studying.

However, even so 70% said they would like to work more flexibly in the future with two thirds of employees working flexibly (69%) saying it encourages them to stay in a job for longer and improves their motivation levels (57%). 65% of UK workers say it would improve their wellbeing and satisfaction at work.

However, almost a third of workers (31%) don’t believe their employer would let them work flexibly.

McDonald’s employees

A survey of 1,000 McDonald’s employees was conducted alongside the UK findings and echoed the findings. A social workplace topped their priorities (58%), closely followed by the flexibility to work hours that suit them (52%). The ability to develop new skills, such as team work and communications skills, was also a key factor for over half (51%).

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “People are looking for jobs that work for them. This research reflects our belief that to attract, retain and motivate, employers need to create opportunities that genuinely work for people whatever their age, life stage, or ambition. The business case is clear, as are the links to improved happiness and wellbeing – people simply don’t want to work 9-5 anymore. They want to work more flexibly, but that doesn’t diminish ambition, desire or opportunity to progress.”

Flexible working events

McDonald’s won’s Top Employer Award for Innovation in 2017 for its decision to offer a choice between fixed and flexible contracts. McDonald’s will be piloting flexible working events around the country from September with flexible working champion Anna Whitehouse and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, giving people advice and information about how to push for greater flexibility in the workplace. It will also be working with on a number of initiatives to drive home the flexible working message, including an employer roundtable on best practice in flexible working later this year.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of HR industry body the CIPD, said organisations willing to offer flexible working would attract a higher number of applicants. He added: “Uptake of flexible working is still low and most jobs are not advertised as being open to different working arrangements.” Research earlier this year suggests the proportion of quality jobs (paid £20k+ FTE) which are advertised with flexible working options is only 11%.

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