UK businesses that don’t offer flexible working will struggle to attract and retain top talent, according new research.
The study, conducted by UC Expo on 1,000 UK office workers, found that job roles offering flexible working are more likely to attract a better candidate, with 82% of workers saying they would be more likely to take a job that offered flexible working benefits.
An additional 71% said that the offer of flexible working would help businesses to attract a greater international talent pool.
The benefits of flexible working are more widely recognised than a year ago, with a fifth (22%) of those surveyed having worked at home or remotely more throughout 2015 than in 2014.
With over a quarter (27%) of UK workers now regularly working outside the office, the majority cited happiness as the biggest benefits.
Nine in ten (90%) felt that it is essential in maintaining a better work-life balance, and 88% said staff would be happier overall. Two-thirds (67%) said they’d prefer the ability to work remotely over free breakfast every day.
Productivity concerns around employees working from home is decreasing, with 67% of respondents saying productivity levels either increase or stay the same when they work remotely.
Despite the general consensus that flexible working tools and technologies are vital in ensuring employee happiness and job satisfaction, an alarming two-fifths (39%) of respondents weren’t aware of their right to request flexible working from their employer.
Whilst this has decreased from 50% who said they were not aware of the right last year, many companies and employees still aren’t reaping the benefits of flexible working.
But workers are in full agreement that they should have the right to request flexible working, with three-quarters (74%) saying they also want to be given the right to request remote working.
Over two-thirds (68%) of office workers believe that new collaboration and remote working technologies will eventually substitute office working, according to the study.
With 29% of Brits now working flexible hours, the traditional nine-to-five is declining rapidly.
“With a growing workforce of digital natives – not to mention multiple obstacles such as travel strikes in cities such as London – it’s not surprising that people favour a flexible approach to their work,” said Bradley Maule-ffinch, director of strategy at UC Expo. “Employers need to keep up with their staff’s technology and working preferences in order to retain them.”