Will UK employers have to advertise jobs as flexible?

4 Oct 2018

It’s National Work Life Week in the UK, and with it comes news that the government is considering steps to increase flexible working.  As part of a package of measures,  Business Secretary Greg Clark said the  government ‘will consider creating a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly, and make that clear when advertising’.

That’s a lot of ‘considering’, but hopefully it’s a positive sign. Many employers still resist advertising roles as flexible. This is despite a large body of evidence of the business benefits of new ways of working, which we set out in our book Future Work. It often comes down to fear – especially fear of ‘opening the floodgates’ – and we provide  guidance for managers and businesses on breaking through that fear barrier.

Research by Timewise has found that 87% of full-time workers in Britain either work flexibly already, or wish they could. That’s men as well as women. Yet according to the   2017 Timewise Flexible Jobs Index, only 1 in 10 jobs paying more than £20,000 are advertised with flexible working options, creating a huge gap between supply and demand.

It’s not only workers wanting greater autonomy who are  losing out, businesses are too. In this age of ‘anytime anywhere’ working, it’s high time  businesses stopped  resisting the huge opportunities of opening up to cost-effective, productivity-enhancing ways of working – opportunities that can benefit people, profits and planet when they are  implemented thoughtfully and well.

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