Majority of employers agree to flexible working requests

Eight employers out of 10 agree to the majority of flexible working requests from employees, according to research published today.

The XpertHR survey found that 79% of respondents grant between 75% and 100% of requests from employees to work flexibly, while almost half (48%) said that up to 20% of their staff work flexibly.

The findings come prior to the Government’s extension to all employees of the right to request flexible working, due to be introduced next year.

XpertHR asked employers which of their employees currently have the opportunity to request flexible working – three-quarters said they currently consider requests from all employees, while one in five (21%) said they only do so in respect to those employees who already have a statutory right to request flexible working.

Almost half (49%) of respondents said they think the 2014 statutory change will have no impact on them, four in 10 (41%) believe the number of flexible working requests will increase slightly, and just one in 20 (6%) predicted that the number will increase considerably. The remainder of respondents said they were unsure of the impact.

XpertHR researcher and author of the report Rachel Suff said: “In practical terms, it appears that most employers are well prepared for the forthcoming legal change extending the right to request flexible working.”

The research found the three most common flexible working arrangements are:

  • part-time hours (47.8%);
  • flexitime (23.4%); and
  • variable start/finish times (13.2%).

It also explored the issues faced by employers when trying to implement an effective flexible working policy. The difficulties experienced focus on the following five areas:

  • complexity of scheduling working hours (cited by 39% of employers);
  • difficulty arranging meetings (36%);
  • resentment from employees not working flexibly (23%);
  • internal communication difficulties (21.%); and
  • difficulty arranging training (18%).

However, the majority of respondents also identified a number of advantages in offering flexible working – the main three being improved retention (cited by 65%), increased employee commitment (63%) and flexibility of cover (47%).

For more information and full data from the research, visit XpertHR.

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