Shortages of talent and skills mean that many knowledge workers have the bargaining power to negotiate their working conditions, including around flexible working. People want flexibility – or sovereignty – over both time and space. They do not want fixed hours, but instead express a preference for choosing the hours they work as long as they could ensure the job was done. For many employees, flexible working has evolved from being the exception to being the norm.
At the same time, organisations’ demand for flexible working has changed, with businesses now having to meet the 24/7 customer need for their services. The recession has drastically changed the nature of the work, reducing the number of full-time jobs and causing many organisations to rely on part-time and temporary staff, assigning them flexible working schedules. Some have sought to optimise the use of organisational resources (such as computers and desks) through shift work and working from home.
The Work Foundation has a long record of expertise on:
- employee demand for work-life balance and employee voice in negotiating flexible working
- employee perceptions of the availability of flexible working opportunities, including the type of employment (by industry and occupation) that would benefit from or be disadvantaged by flexible working
- employee attitudes to the benefits and risks of flexible working
- employee perception of how well work-life balance policies meet their needs
- changes in the labour division at home following policy and organisational changes.