Despite the right to request flexible working being extended to all employees in 2014, new research shows employees taking advantage of these arrangements has flatlined since 2010.
This research was published in a new report, Megatrends: Flexible Working, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Coinciding with the release of this publication, the Flexible Working Task Force has launched a campaign to increase the uptake of flexible working.
The task force is a partnership across government departments, business groups, trade unions and charities, and is co-chaired by CIPD and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Members of the task force are collectively using their ability to reach and influence hundreds of thousands of employers to encourage them to advertise jobs as flexible by using the strapline “Happy to Talk Flexible Working” in their job advertisements, regardless of level or pay grade.
The CIPD said the potential benefits of flexible working are being missed because of unsupportive manager attitudes, limited available options and the negative assumptions of some employees about flexible working, for example that their job may be at risk if they seek to change their working patterns.
As part of its efforts to increase uptake, the task force is highlighting the business benefits of flexible working - which include addressing skill and labour shortages by making work more accessible to older people and those with caring responsibilities, for example:
The task force has also published guidance for employers on how to champion flexible working in their own organisations.
Peter Cheese, CIPD’s chief executive and co-chair of the Flexible Working Task Force, said: “Employers need to consider, and address, the barriers holding them back from adopting flexible working practices more widely – be it entrenched organisational cultures or making sure line managers are trained to support and manage flexible workers.
“By encouraging many more jobs to be advertised as flexible as the default option, the task force is challenging outdated attitudes to flexible working that still prevail in some organisations and laying down a marker for other employers to follow.”
Kelly Tolhurst, business minister, said: “Working flexibly helps people to balance their work and home lives and is vital in creating an inclusive economy and diverse workforce. It also gives employers access to a wider pool of talent and enables better matching of applicants and jobs.”