Offering flexible working is key to being a good boss

New research finds that a CEO who doesn’t offer an enhanced paternity package or embrace flexibility will be left behind

Offering flexible working


Good bosses offer their employees flexible working according to a new survey of UK workers.

According to the research 82% of employees regard bosses who offer flexible working positively. That put flexible working alongside staple offers such as paid sick leave, workplace pensions and generous holidays on the list of policies a good CEO provides.

Most workers also mentioned generous parental leave and pay as signs of a good workplace. Around 60% of men said they were looking for better than the statutory allowance when it comes to paternity leave and pay. That suggests that simply offering basic paternity policies will be regarded as a negative factor for most workers considering a new job.


The research was carried out by Wagestream, an organisation dedicated to flexible pay – allowing workers to access their earned income at any time in the month rather than having to wait for payday. Luckily for them the survey of 800 people found that more than half endorsed the concept and would regard it as a sign of a good workplace.

A report generated off the back of the research includes top tips for CEOs who want to be regarded as good bosses.

The first instruction is to look after employees mental and physical wellbeing. And second on the list is advice to trust employees to work flexibly. Both have clear implications for new dads – a decent boss will not just be aware when an employee becomes a father but will have no qualms about a new dad altering their work pattern as a result.

Respondents chose communication, integrity and approachability as the defining characteristic of a good CEO. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed say they would regard the boss’s profile and reputation as important when deciding whether to join a particular company. Over half claim they’ve never met the person in charge of the company they work for.


The researchers also looked for the defining traits of an unimpressive CEO according to the people working for them. A bad boss displays a ‘do as I say not as I do’ attitude and is regarded as out of touch with her or his employees.

Perhaps surprisingly the workers surveyed across eight different industries reckoned Google boss Larry Page and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk are not good role models for CEOs. Instead they reached back in time and picked golden oldies Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey as ideal bosses.

Wagestream’s CEO and co-founder Peter Briffett, said: “If CEOs want the backing of their workforce, they can’t afford to be helicoptering in and out of the day-to-day business, they need to be properly involved with their employees and take a genuine interest in their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.”

“It’s clear that the highest rated CEOs are the ones who are approachable, have integrity, understand their employees work and trust them with flexibility, whether that’s in the form of when and where they work, or how they receive their salary.”

Lucie Russell, Director of the Fair by Design, a campaign and venture fund working to eradicate the extra costs of being poor, also commented on the work. She says, “As this research illustrates, a good leader in 2019 will embrace flexibility to make life less stressful for their staff.”


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