Dreaming of more flexibility

Aug 20 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

An overwhelming majority of people in Britain would jump at the chance to work more flexible hours with only one in five keen to stick to the traditional nine-to-five.

A poll by HR consultancy firm Aon Consulting, found that more than half (56 per cent) were keen on working extra hours from Monday to Thursday so that they could take a half day on a Friday, a figure that rose to two-thirds of people in Scotland.

But such enlightened ‘compressed hours’ policies are a real rarity. Only 17 per cent of employers offer such an option, according to separate research by the Chartered Management Institute, despite the fact that four out of ten managers are also keen on the idea.

Aon also found that more than four out of ten (42 per cent) employees would prefer to work at home one day a week, while somewhat fewer – 37 per cent - favoured starting work at 8am and working straight through to 3pm with no break for lunch.

But the most eye-opening statistic is that fewer than one in five people (18 per cent) said that they would prefer to work the traditional nine-to-five, five days a week.

"The most consistent message from our research is that people want the flexibility to plan their work around their personal lives,” said Aon Consulting’s Lisa Page.

“The Government's work-life balance initiative goes some way towards addressing this. However, as life expectancy increases and the make-up of the population changes, employer attitudes to working life will also need to adapt."

"Employers who address this emerging trend will be more able to sustain a high-quality workforce going forward," she added.