‘Most people want flexible working’

Only 17% of workers polled don’t want to work more flexibly, according to a YouGov poll for gender equality group Opportunity Now.

On the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Opportunity Now campaign, the poll of 2,006 British adults found that 33% said that greater flexibility would make them more productive and 43% said that it would help them with stress.

Contrary to stereotype, women and men both want greater flexibility at work.  Only 17% of all those polled said that spending more time caring for their children would be/ is a benefit of greater flexibility.

Helen Wells, Director of Opportunity Now, Business in the Community, said: “For too long flexible working has been seen as a “Mummy track”, a benefit for working mothers.  This research makes it clear that both women and men want greater flexibility at work, and that businesses benefit from that flexibility, with increased productivity and happier, less stressed employees.”

On 8th November 2011 Opportunity Now celebrated its 20th anniversary.  Speaking at a reception in the House of Commons to celebrate the anniversary, Alison Platt, CMG, Divisional Managing Director, Europe & North America, Bupa and Chair of Opportunity Now, said: “Opportunity Now has known for twenty years that flexible working practices are critical to advancing women in the workplace.  Huge progress has been made. When Opportunity Now was founded 20 years ago, only 2,500 job sharing opportunities existed, mostly in junior roles in the public sector.  Now 75% of Opportunity Now employers offer 9 or more types of flexible working.  Business has changed, and it changed because the business benefits are clear.

“To go further, it is important that we are clear that flexibility is not just a benefit for working mothers; it is core to creating agile businesses fit for the future, and vital to build the employee engagement that delivers the best possible business outcomes.  It is because flexibility is good for business that Opportunity Now is asking our members to extend the right to request flexible working options to all employees by 2012.  We also ask them to embed flexible working particularly at management and senior leadership levels.  And finally, we encourage them to monitor the pay and progression of those with flexible working patterns to ensure that flexible working acts as an enabler for promising talent, not a pigeon hole.”

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