End of 9 to 5 nears as two-thirds of workers want more flexibility

For Gavin Bell, the ability to run his Blue Cliff Media Facebook advertising firm 'where and when he likes' is paramount. Picture: contributed
For Gavin Bell, the ability to run his Blue Cliff Media Facebook advertising firm 'where and when he likes' is paramount. Picture: contributed
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IT is the standard working day, immortalised in the Dolly Parton song dedicated to all office staff.

But the 9 to 5 routine appears to be coming to an end, as people call for more flexibility over their working day.

A study has found that two- thirds of Scottish workers say they want some flexibility in the hours they work, such as being able to amend when they start and finish work and being able to work from home part of the time.

The survey of more than 1,000 workers carried out by Family Friendly Working Scotland found that 95 per cent believe that work life balance is at least as important as salary, including nearly a third of the population who feel it is more important.

It found that, while a third of Scottish workers have at least some flexibility over their hours, nearly half must work set hours.

Meanwhile, less than one in three Scottish employees say they have at least some 
flexibility over where they work.

Nikki Slowey, joint programme director for Family Friendly Working Scotland, said: “We’ve held on to the tradition of work meaning 9am to 5pm in the office for long enough.

“The majority of Scottish workers want at least some flexibility over when and where they work and this isn’t compatible with the rigid model we’ve clung to for more than a century.”

She added: “Dolly Parton may have made 9 to 5 an institution with her iconic song from the 80s but nearly 40 years on – and with even more evidence to prove flexible working is good for business as well as making people happier – surely we can let go of our expectation that jobs must be office-based 9am to 5pm and make flexibility the norm.”

The survey found that millennial workers – those aged 18 to 34 – are more likely to work in an office all the time compared with older workers, with two thirds saying they do not have any flexibility over location, compared with 54 per cent of those aged 35 and over. Family Friendly Working Scotland, which is a partnership between Working Families, Fathers Network Scotland, Parenting Across Scotland and the Scottish Government, has published the findings to mark the beginning of National Work Life Week.

A report published last year by Family Friendly Working Scotland found that nine in 10 Scots who work flexibly say it improves their quality of life and makes them happier.

UK Government legislation introduced four years ago allows employees with 26 weeks’ service to submit a formal flexible working request to ask to work from home or adjust their hours.