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UK – More than a third of permanent workers want flexibility

22 August 2019

More than a third of Britons in full-time work are currently looking for a more flexible job, research suggests.

In a survey of 2,000 Brits, 71% told price comparison website KnowYourMoney that flexible working – in terms of both the hours and location they work – is important to them when it comes to job satisfaction. However, half can’t work remotely when they want or need to, and 46% have no flexibility in the hours they work.

As a result, one in three (29%) full-time workers have left a job in the past year because they wanted a role that offered greater flexibility. 37% of full-time staff in the UK are currently looking for a new job for the same reason. This figure rises to 52% among those aged 18 and 24, and 46% of those aged 25 to 34.

The research also demonstrated employees’ strong appetite to reduce the working week from five to four days.

Three quarters of UK workers are in favour of the proposal even if they have to fit their full-time hours into four days, while 49% would take a pay cut of 20% to move from a five-day to a four-day week.

Working practices have changed radically over the past two decades – the rise of new tech has made it far easier and more common for employees to work remotely and flexibly. But workers feel their employers have not yet caught up with the flexible working trend, instead using technology to create stress by preventing them from switching off outside of work.

Almost half (45%) said they find it harder now than in the past to detach themselves from their jobs because they receive work emails on their smartphones around the clock. Moreover, two in five (42%) do not feel their employer supports or cares about their mental health, and almost a third (32%) are unhappy with their current work-life balance.

Nic Redfern at KnowYourMoney, said: “Evidently, organisations are at risk of losing talented staff if they cannot provide more flexible structures – whether that’s relaxing the set offices hours, allowing employees to work from home, or even offering the option of a four-day week.

“Ultimately, technology shouldn’t increase employees’ stress levels but be embraced to create new opportunities for people to achieve a better work-life balance.”


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