Report shows formal flexible working has stalled

New report and campaign launched to promote the benefits of flexible working.

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The number of employees using formal flexible working arrangements has flat-lined since 2010, despite the right to request flexible working being extended to all employees in 2014, according to a new report.

The Megatrends: Flexible Working report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that in contrast there is evidence of an increase in more informal flexible working, such as more people working from home on an ad hoc basis.

The report is published as the Flexible Working Task Force, a partnership across government departments, business groups, trade unions and charities, launches a campaign to increase the uptake of flexible working.

As part of the campaign, members of the task force are collectively will attempt to encourage employers to advertise jobs as flexible by using the strapline Happy to Talk Flexible Working in their job advertisements, regardless of level or pay grade.

All members of the task force, co-chaired by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the CIPD have also committed to advertising jobs as flexible.

The task force was established in March 2018 to widen the availability and uptake of flexible working across the workforce by bringing together organisations with relevant expertise. These include the Confederation of British Industry, Chartered Management Institute, Federation of Small Businesses, Trades Union Congress, Working Families and Acas.

As part of its efforts to increase uptake, the task force is highlighting the business benefits of flexible working which include addressing labour shortages, improving productivity, boosting job satisfaction, retaining staff, particularly those with caring responsibilities and creating more diverse workforces, so reducing the gender pay gap by giving more opportunities for women to progress into senior roles.

The task force has also published guidance for employers on how to champion flexible working in their own organisations.

Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive and co-chair of the Flexible Working Task Force, said: “Providing more flexible opportunities for how, when and where people work should be part of every organisation’s strategy to attract and retain the talent and skills they need.

“Employers need to consider, and address, the barriers holding them back from adopting flexible working practices more widely – be it entrenched organisational cultures or making sure line managers are trained to support and manage flexible workers.

“By encouraging many more jobs to be advertised as flexible as the default option, the task force is challenging outdated attitudes to flexible working that still prevail in some organisations and laying down a marker for other employers to follow.”


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