UK SMEs still aren’t providing the flexible working employees want
Small businesses in the UK still aren’t offering their people enough flexibility, according to new research from Tiger Recruitment. While the pandemic has required many to work more flexibly from home, more than a quarter of employees questioned say they still aren’t happy with the flexible working options available to them, and men are just as dissatisfied as women.
Tiger Recruitment surveyed more than 1,100 employees of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and found that a third (34%) still aren’t offered flexible working options, or none that they are aware of.
Home and remote working are the most common option by far, enjoyed by 47% of respondents. Flexi-time, the scope to change work hours outside of ‘core’ business hours, and part-time working are jointly the next most common, yet are offered to just around a fifth of employees (19%).
It seems that the pandemic has failed to bring the changes employees were hoping for. Despite the success of remote working during the crisis, with reported gains for productivity, decision-making and work/ life balance, only a fifth of respondents (21%) say their employer has announced permanent changes to their remote working policy in light of COVID-19.
This is at odds with what employees say they want. Almost half (46%) of those questioned think that being able to work more flexibly is the number one positive to come out of the pandemic - and losing it is one of their biggest fears about returning to the office.
“The pandemic has shown that a more flexible way of working is possible and productive, and many people are reluctant to give that up. It’s often the first thing candidates ask us about when applying for jobs,” said David Morel, CEO of Tiger Recruitment.
“Employers who continue to resist a move to more flexible ways of working may find themselves at a serious disadvantage, unable to attract and retain the best talent for their business.”
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