UK lags in flexible working league table

New research finds vast majority of workers think flex is the future. But UK is some way back in the flexible working league table

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


The UK has some way to go to catch up with the world’s leaders when it comes to flexible working.

A new survey found Germany, Australia and the Netherlands leading the way when it comes to offering different ways of working.

Across the globe, around three quarters of those questioned said flexible working is the new norm.

But the proportion of businesses offering flexible working policies varies. In Germany four out of five companies have strategies in place to accommodate different ways of working. In the Netherlands it’s three quarters. And in Australia 71% have a flexible work policy. In the UK the figure is 68% according to the research compiled by flexible workspace company Instant Offices.


However having a policy is only half the battle. Only a tiny proportion of working dads actually have formal flexible working arrangements. A far higher number have informal arrangements. These are worked out with bosses or line managers without agreeing or signing a change to terms of employment.

It’s thought the coronavirus experience may change attitudes. The UK government is believed to be considering establishing a ‘right to flexible working’ for employees. That would move beyond the current right only to request flexible working. Finland and Germany have already introduced similar legislation this year.

A number of high profile firms including Fujitsu and Twitter have given their workers the option to continue to working from home indefinitely as the coronavirus crisis moves on.


A slew of research has found employees report being more productive when they work from home, or have the option to choose when and where they work.

John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices comments: “Considering these trends, it’s reasonable to expect that the right to work from home could help businesses to retain more diverse talent, save on turnover costs and enjoy the benefits of a happier, more engaged workforce.”

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