Businesses are failing to reap the rewards of increased productivity and employee well-being resulting from new, modern approaches to working flexibly, according to new research by O2.
One year on from O2’s Olympic flexible working pilot, the mobile operator’s study of more than 400 businesses and 2,000 employees reveals that whilst staff are ready to embrace new ways of working and understand the benefits, it is employers who are holding them back.
The research also highlights a clear disconnect in what businesses say and do, and employee perceptions of the policies and support that are in place to help them:
O2 Business Director, Ben Dowd, commented:
“Just six months since Britain’s biggest flexible working opportunity, the Olympics, it’s shocking that less than one fifth of people feel they are encouraged to work flexibly. Businesses must sit up and take notice of this critical evolution in employee behaviour and create a business culture equipped to support it. Talking about it simply isn’t enough. To create a truly flexible working culture, actions speak louder than words.”
O2 argues that by creating a single massive moment of reappraisal that effectively shocks the business into action, it is possible to significantly alter the flexible working culture within an organisation.
Last year O2 took this approach with its flexible working pilot and one year on, more than one third of employees have actively changed their work behaviour:
Dowd continued: “The changes we’ve seen in our own workforce since our pilot speak for themselves. With the right mix of technology, policy and education, Britain’s workforce can embrace the opportunities that flexible working can bring in helping them shape their own definition of the 9 to 5.”
About the research:
The research was conducted by specialist research agency ResearchBods. The total sample size was 2000 UK office workers and 400 office managers, between the ages of 16 and 75. Fieldwork into the views was undertaken between 12th and 17th February, 2013.