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Flexible working: The UK’s most sought-after work benefit

One of the knock-on effects of the pandemic was a complete change to how most people conducted their working lives.

Suddenly, everyone was working from home and had a taste of flexibility after years of commuting into the office five days a week. Hybrid working is now in high demand and being rolled out at many companies in a permanent change of approach.

Below, we explore what flexible working is, and how it has worked in trials.

The rise in flexible working

So, what is flexible working? Flexible working largely refers to greater versatility in working hours and location.

For the location, flexible working demands that people can choose how often they visit the office. At the same time, flexible hours are on the agenda too. This is where workers can select the hours they want to work, within reason.

In the new normal, a gruelling 9-5 shift no longer appeals to much of the population. Many people want flexible working; the opportunity to work from home with the hours they want.

Why many Brits now seek a role with flexible working

Research from banner printing specialist instantprint reveals that many Brits look for jobs at companies that offer flexible working.

In their study, 45% of Brits revealed they were keen to try flexible working hours, making it the most desired work perk to have.

The study revealed that there was strong uptake from those who were offered flexible working perks too. Almost a third of those offered flexible working hours took advantage of the offer.

With three-quarters of people surveyed not offered a flexible working location, though, there is still plenty of work to be done to support workers.

Other countries that are trialling flexible work weeks

Iceland has been at the forefront of countries looking into work-friendly conditions by trialling the four-day week.On the surface, it seems like this would lead to less work being completed, but Iceland found that output went up or at least remained the same.

2,500 workers took part in the trial from 2015 to 2019, with most of them moving from a 40-hour week to a 35 or 36-hour week. Workers reported that their work-life balance had improved and there were fewer reports of burnout and stress.

This success in Iceland has encouraged Spain to adopt similar trials, while Platform London has also encouraged a four-day working week in the UK.

The demand for flexible working is steadily on the rise. With the pandemic realigning how we work, now is the opportunity to make changes that boost our mental wellbeing, while lessening our impact on the environment.

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