The CBI has warned UK employers that they must do more to promote flexible working as employees feel uncomfortable making new flexible working requests.
Too many employers are simply dismissing flexible working as an ‘optional extra’ despite it being instrumental in helping to attract and retain staff by boosting job satisfaction.
Hesitation amongst employees
The survey of 1,300 workers, published by YouGov, revealed that an astonishing 42 per cent of employees were hesitant in asking their employer for more flexibility in their role.
This was despite the majority saying that flexible working was offered in the workplace already and 37 per cent of respondents admitting that they find balancing work and family life difficult.
Men and women were equally as reluctant about making new flexible working requests.
Employers must take the lead
The findings come just months after the Government extended the right to request flexible working to all employees and not just those with caring responsibilities.
At the end of June when the new legislation was introduced, employers were warned to brace themselves for a flurry of new new flexible working requests. But it seems too many employees are reluctant to broach the issue with their managers.
The CBI says employers must be more open to flexible working by advertising jobs as offering flexibility from the outset.
The report stressed that employers must challenge outdated assumptions regarding flexible working and demonstrate openness to options such as job sharing in senior roles.
According to Hall this will increase staff confidence and encourage more people to ask about the options.
‘What if’ scenarios
Integrated time and attendance enable managers to create a full audit trail of attendance data so they can run ‘what if’ scenarios to gain a true understanding of how new requests will impact future business performance before accepting or declining new requests.
Managing staff consistently and fairly is essential to introducing flexible working patterns.