UK SME employees say flexible working makes a job more attractive

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Over 7 in 10 (73%) UK employees under thirty years of age say flexible working makes a job more attractive, according to research by conference and video call provider PowWowNow carried out with Censuswide.

The survey shows that employers looking to attract the best and brightest of young talent should look to implement smarter working practices. Older generations are less sold on flexible working; 65 per cent of over-45s would look for more flexibility as part of a new job, and only 57% of over 55’s feel flexible working options are important to their employment needs.

Prior to the government-enforced lockdown to reduce transmission of coronavirus, the biggest barrier to flexible working as perceived by decision-makers was problems with communication (45% saw this as a key issue). However, over half of businesses surveyed (53%) have invested in conference and video calling technology during lockdown to enable staff to work effectively from home, indicating that communication will no longer be a barrier looking ahead.

The biggest issue businesses have experienced with staff working remotely has been problems with technology (38%), suggesting decision-makers should continue to invest wisely in high-quality technology products to support changing work practices, especially if they want to attract a millennial workforce wanting to continue to work from home.

With many workers admitting they wish their employers offered flexible working, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has now provided many workers with the encouragement they need to request it. And as more young people specifically will likely continue to look to businesses to offer remote working, it is advised that companies mirror the demand and provide the option for flexible working where they can.

Though the right to Request Flexible Working legislation came into force six years ago, only 4 in 10 UK businesses offered flexible working prior to the pandemic. With businesses benefiting from the recent mass remote working experience during lockdown, PowWowNow encourages companies to seize this moment and make flexible working the norm going forwards.

Andrew Johnson, Managing Director of PowWowNow, said: “It is evident that many workers- and younger workers in particular- are looking for employers to provide more flexibility around the hours they expect staff to work, and where they can work from.

With businesses having adapted to the Coronavirus pandemic by investing in the technology needed to allow their employees to work away from the office, it is clear that the way forward is to embrace this shift towards more flexible working as we look to the years ahead. If companies are to regain strength following the pandemic, they will need to attract new talent by demonstrating they understand the move away from traditional working practices and are embracing change.”      

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