A new survey of 1,100 UK managers has found that an overwhelming majority of British organisations (94%) offer flexible working arrangements to their employees.
The new study by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found that 82% of the respondents believed that flexible working yielded tangible business benefits. 73% said that their firms actively supported flexible working and 62% said that senior managers acted as flexible working role models.
32% of the respondents said that while they would prefer to work flexibly, they had not asked to do so, fearing that the model conflicted with their organisation’s culture. 27% reported that it was not seen as ‘appropriate’ for managers.
ILM chief executive Charles Elvin said that work was no longer a place to turn up to but something that can be done anywhere, any time. More employers, he explained, see real business benefits through offering employees a choice over how, where and when they work. He also noted some residual cultural barriers, which impeded some organisations from genuinely embracing the model.
Mr Elvin added: “Negative attitudes towards flexible workers are often prompted by a sense of unfairness and poor communication from senior management on policy. Openness and honesty about flexible working policies can alleviate worries and uncertainty, help to address negativity and highlight the opportunities and advantages to all staff.”
Not referred to directly in the report, however, is that fact that the UK has a growing pool of dedicated flexible workers who choose to take up successive assignments as Umbrella Company Employees, offering organisations a skilled, demand-responsive alternative to permanent hires.