Employers still trapping workers in the office despite flexible working legislation

One year on since UK legislation gave all employees the right to request flexible working, new research has shown that uptake has been slow.

The majority (55%) of British office workers are still required by employers to work from the office within designated working hours, according to a study by Microsoft, while 44% said they are not allowed to work remotely under any circumstances.

With only one in ten (11%) survey respondents saying they have had their best work-related idea in the office, these employer-inflicted restrictions could be inhibiting creativity.

The research displays high support amongst those that have taken advantage of flexible working, with 35% saying it makes them more motivated, 36% pointing to an increase in productivity, and 52% enjoying a work-life balance that is easier to manage.

More than 80% of employees in small and medium-sized businesses that requested flexible working said it has made a positive difference to their working life, while 31% noticed a ‘big, positive change’ in their working life.

>See also: How to prepare for flexible working

Dave Copin, chief envisioning officer at Microsoft UK, said employers are ‘trapping staff in process and red-tape’ instead of giving them the opportunity to hink and be creative.

“Business leaders should reimagine how workers operate,” he said. “According to the Office of National Statistics, productivity levels in the UK are stagnant and lower than the start of the recession in 2007.

“Instead of automatically assuming that work can only happen in the office, employers should focus on the work at hand, where it makes the most sense to complete it and then give employees the freedom and tools to empower them to be productive anytime, anywhere.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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