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One in five employees dare not ask about flexible working options

by LLB Reporter
27th Jun 17 10:05 am

Despite their legal right to do so

Over one in five UK private sector employees – equivalent to 5.5m nationally – are too afraid to discuss flexible working with their boss because they think they will say no, Aviva’s Working Lives report shows.

The findings come despite employees having the legal right to make a ‘statutory application’ to their employer to change their working pattern. Those aged 35-49 are the most likely to refrain from exercising this right despite the challenge some in this age group may face with juggling work and family life: nearly one in four shy away from starting a conversation for fear of rejection.

Despite the widespread fear of asking to change their work arrangements, of those employees who have specifically initiated a conversation, the vast majority have had their request accepted, as almost two in three private sector businesses say they already offer the opportunity for flexible working. Such findings suggest a potential disconnect between employees’ expectations of what their employers will allow, and the greater freedom that is actually available to them.

The fourth edition of Aviva’s Working Lives report – which examines the attitudes and experiences of employers and employees on issues affecting the present and future of the UK workplace – suggests there are clear business benefits to flexible working for both employers and employees.

Gareth Hemming, director of SME insurance at Aviva UK, said:

“Technological innovation is presenting new ways for businesses to serve their customers and support growth objectives. It also offers the potential for businesses to evolve how they interact with customers outside of core working hours.

“Such change means businesses may need to rethink the way their employees work and should consider the benefits flexible working could bring in meeting business goals. It can also support employees looking to manage their work-life balance better as they juggle work with busy lives, looking after family young and old, managing health or even wanting more time to pursue other interests.”


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