Lack of flexible working hampers employers

Employers may be missing out on the best skilled workers due to not offering flexible working.

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation argues that the current lack of ‘quality’ part-time and flexible jobs is holding back the labour market by:

  • cutting businesses off from a proportion of skilled workers
  • ensuring some employees get ‘stuck’ in inflexible jobs and end up ‘trading down’ to get the flexibility they need.

The report highlights a gap between the now relatively common flexible working and flexible hiring, which is still comparatively rare. The foundation carried out surveys with workers and looked at current vacancies. While 6.2% of ‘quality’ vacancies advertise the ability to work flexibly, 47% of surveyed workers want to be able to do so. It is estimated that the number of flexible positions would have to increase eight-fold to meet the demand. This would primarily affect parents, older workers and people with disabilities.

Introducing flexible working

By offering more flexible jobs, businesses could not only have a positive impact on individual people’s earnings, career progression and job mobility, but it would also allow them to get the best workers for each vacancy. Any employee who has been working for the same employer for more than 26 weeks has the right to request flexible working arrangements. This is known as ‘making a statutory application’.

If you want to introduce flexible working, you first need to decide what kind of flexibility you want:

  • flexible location – people can work at the office, at home or other locations
  • flexible time – people can move their contracted hours around to suit their schedules
  • flexible contract – could include the above as well as outsourcing, use of agency labour or temporary and fixed contracts.

You may want to opt for all of these options.

There are 3 main types of flexible hours arrangements that employers can utilise:

  • part-time – employees work less than a full 9 to 5 working week
  • flexitime – employees can come in earlier/later each day as long as they complete their contracted hours at the end of each week
  • overtime – workers can work extra hours that then translate to time off in lieu.

Talk to us about setting up flexible working.