Long reads

Majority of UK believes flexible working boosts productivity

Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott

Senior Content Editor, Amply

Flexible working has taken a bit of a hit recently across the financial and tech sectors, as company after company rolls back on pandemic era remote-working policies.

Dell’s CEO Michael Dell raved about remote in 2022, saying that it was “the future of work”. He had a change of heart recently, announcing that the company will pass over remote employees for promotions in favour of those who come into the office at least three days a week.

“For remote team members, it is important to understand the trade-offs: Career advancement, including applying to new roles in the company, will require a team member to reclassify as hybrid onsite,” a recent company memo said.

Deutsche Bank has also had a rethink. It employs around 6,000 people in London, and has recently told workers that they need to be in the office at least two-thirds of the time, with more senior staff required to be in the office four days a week.

Workers want flexible options

These two firms are far from being outliers, but according to research conducted among 1,000 UK desk workers by productivity tool Slack, 80% of employees say that flexible working boosts their productivity, and 74% say they think it will help their company grow quicker.

There is a clear disconnect between what workers and companies want from work, but with the advent of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2023, which came into effect in April, all UK workers (even those who are in their first day of a new job), have the right to request flexible working.

Employers are not legally required to grant flexible working, but they are now legally required to consider all requests for flexible work. if they refuse, they have to provide a reason for doing so. It means requests can’t be dismissed out of hand, but what do business leaders think?

Benjamin Swails, who is the northern Europe general manager at Pleo, states that in-company insights indicate that 25% of UK SMEs are looking to reduce business spending in 2024, with one in five exploring a pay reduction for remote workers.

“But before signing off on radical cost-cutting strategies that can have potentially damaging ramifications for employee morale, businesses must first bring clarity to their spending oversight and find the balance between a leaner business and one that still operates a flexible culture,” he says.

Bukki Adedapo, UK country manager at Fiverr, says that offering the option of working from home is now the bare minimum.

“For Generation Z in particular, flexible working is becoming a non-negotiable,” he points out.

“According to a recent survey we conducted, 'flexible work' was the most common factor influencing UK 16-26 year olds' decisions about how or where they are choosing to work this year. In fact, only 22% of Gen Z workers said working from home has a bearing on where they choose to work. What these workers are really looking for are flexible hours, four-day weeks and the opportunities to work from anywhere in the world.”

If flexible working is the one rigid workplace rule you stick to, and your current employer is less than enthusiastic, you could consider looking for an opportunity elsewhere. Explore the Finextra Job Board for a great new role at a company that shares your ethos––you can discover three top opportunities below.

Software Engineer/Oracle Database Developer – Lockheed Martin Corporation, Gloucester

At Lockheed Martin Corporation in Gloucester, an opportunity exists for a ​​Software Engineer/Oracle Database Developer. The company prides itself on its 4xFlex working fortnight, giving you every Monday or Friday off.

In this role, you will be part of a DevSecOps team responsible for delivering software changes and enhancements, and will need a solid knowledge of Agile software development, Oracle database development, and an understanding of Java and the software development life cycle.

Software Engineer – Rise Technical Recruitment Limited

Recruitment firm Rise Technical Recruitment Limited is looking for a Software Engineer in Reading on a hybrid basis. You’ll need strong experience in C++ to join a global leader in the broadcast industry. The role offers progression within a dynamic, fast-paced environment and enjoys benefits such as medical insurance, a competitive bonus scheme, and pension contributions.

You should also have strong experience Linux distribution and kernel building, along with experience with Python, AWS, and Qt.

Endpoint Security Specialist - Jisc

Jisc is the UK digital, data and technology agency focused on tertiary education, research, and innovation, and it seeks an Endpoint Security Specialist for its Internal Security team. In this job, you will be responsible for ensuring the security of the organisation’s endpoint devices.

This includes assisting with the designing, implementing, and maintaining endpoint security solutions. You will also work with internal teams to ensure that every solution designed and implemented will meet these goals.

Hybrid flexibility to work from home and at any of Jisc’s main hubs is on offer, and you will need previous operational experience of endpoint security controls and management systems such as Intune operating systems, networks, and application layer gateway technologies is required.

Flex your remote and hybrid working muscles with a browse on the Finextra Job Board.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 22 May, 2024, 12:43Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

A split between home and the office seems the best option, however what works for one person might not work for another.

But forcing people in for 4-5 days a week is just going to damage morale and cause a breakdown in trust. I for one find it a challenge to complete certain tasks when in the office due to the frequency of questions from colleagues so organise my time appropriately to complete these whilst at home.