Working week: workers value flexibility over hours

A new
report finds that three quarters of working people would rather have complete
control over their existing working hours, than work five hours less at fixed

Industrial Society, which carried out the survey, argues that employees with
more choice over when they work feel less stressed. They also have a better
work-life balance.

However the
figures also show that while under half have any control over their hours, 54
per cent of those who do are completely or very satisfied with the job. This
compares with 42 per cent of those whose hours are fixed by their employer.

Among the
younger workers the figures were more extreme. 93 per cent of 18-25 year-olds say
they would be more likely to stay in their jobs if they had a balance.

One in five
graduates is dissatisfied with their working hours compared with one in seven
among those with lower qualifications.

Ishmael, the society’s expert on flexible working, feels that the disparity in
working hours has to be addressed. The UK works nearly four hours more than
most of the rest of Europe.

She says flexible
hours can offer tangible benefits to both companies and employees.

benefits of flexible working aren’t all one way. Flexible working has benefits
for employers and will deliver a healthier bottom line through productivity
gains, and savings made through reduced turnover, absence and recruitment
costs,” she said.

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