Managers are blocking the flexible working revolution

New survey finds many employers attitudes towards flexible working are out of date and at odds with the evidence.

The words flexible working written on a post it note next to a keyboard and a pen


A new survey has painted a dismal picture of the flexible working landscape in the UK.

While more workers desire a flexible working pattern managers are still resistant. That could store up problems as employment experts forecast flexible working is going to be a big trend in 2020.


Comparison site surveyed over 2000 employees and employers.

The findings showed a mismatch between what the former group wants and what the latter group is willing to grant.

  • 59% of business managers and directors have seen an increase in employees demanding greater flexibility in their job (hours or location)
  • However, 60% have not made any changes to flexible working policies in the past year
  • Over two fifths (41%) are reluctant to hire people who require or demand flexible working: This figure increases to 60% amongst managers in mid-sized businesses (100-249 employees)
  • Among full-time employees, meanwhile, 39% consider their employer to have outdated work structures and practices
  • 42% of employees do not think their employers care about their mental health

Two fifths of the bosses quizzed said people working remotely aren’t as effective. That’s despite evidence that flexible workers are actually more productive. And half of bosses felt the need to check in with employees working from home to ensure they are actually doing the work. That stat begs questions of recruitment processes that see bosses hire staff they don’t trust.

Not good enough

Nic Redfern, Director of, said: “It’s no longer good enough to offer employees a decent salary and an impressive company name on their CV. Employers must do more to attract and retain top talent. But our research shows that many are failing in this regard.

“Today, employees yearn for a healthier work-life balance and benefits that will nurture their mental and physical health. It’s surprising, therefore, so many managers are overlooking the benefits of flexible working.

“Working with employees to develop modern flexible working practices, which recognise the needs of both the individual and the business, can bring huge benefits. Not only can this build a healthier and happier workforce, it can also improve the organisation’s productivity.”

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