A new study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that only a quarter of people consider work to be central to their lives.
The study is the first such research the CIPD has undertaken since 2005, and it highlights the degree to which attitudes and approaches to work are evolving.
35% of employees surveyed stated that they would like to change their working arrangements whilst 43% stated that they would like to change their start or finish time. The results of the survey indicate clearly that the importance people place on their work and careers has shifted, with more employees wanting to make their work fit seamlessly alongside their own commitments.
These figures do not reveal a work-shy population however, but more a generation of workers that are expecting less rigidity in their day-to-day structure. Of employees surveyed, 45% stated that they take phone calls or reply to e-mails outside of work hours, whilst one-fifth work from home at least once a week. Another fifth stated that they would prefer more variety about where they work. The overall message seems to be one of ‘give and take’ between an employee and their job.
The Government passed legislation earlier this year that allowed all employees to make requests for flexible working arrangements, not just those with dependants. Employers that have since offered flexible working have generally reported a positive impact on staff retention and morale, which suggests that the approach can work.
Ksenia Zheltoukhova, a research adviser at the CIPD, told Personnel Today: “If organisations want to get the best out of their people they have to get smarter about understanding how, when and where individuals want to work. Our research provides clear evidence that many businesses are out of step with employee expectations, although by meeting employee expectations, they stand to have greater employee engagement, a more productive workforce and stronger organisational performance.”
“To achieve this though, organisations must question assumptions about people management practices and processes, and establish working solutions that are of value both to individuals and to the business.”
If you receive a formal flexible working request from an employee under the statutory scheme then it is your duty as an employer to deal with it in a reasonable manner. Arrange a meeting to discuss the request with the employee, and, having considered how the arrangement may work, formally notify the employee of your decision within three months of the date of the request.