Flexible working improves quality of life, say most Scots

Firms are under-estimating the demand for flexible working amid growing popularity of part-time, home-based or remote jobs, research shows. Picture: PA
Firms are under-estimating the demand for flexible working amid growing popularity of part-time, home-based or remote jobs, research shows. Picture: PA
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Almost nine in 10 Scots who work flexibly say it improves their quality of life and makes them happier, according to research by Family Friendly Working Scotland.

But less than half of Scottish workers (46 per cent) said they are able to work in a flexible way.

The figures mark the launch of National Work Life Week, which encourage employees and employers to explore flexible working options and find a better work-life balance.

The YouGov poll of more than 1,000 Scots showed that among those who already work flexibly, 77 per cent say they are more productive and “go the extra mile” for their employer.

The results show flexible working is no longer confined to working mothers.

Working men and women, parents of children aged 18 and under and non-parents all said they either already work flexibly, or would if they had access to it.

Almost half of Scottish workers (49 per cent) say changing their start and/or finish time would help while nearly a third (32 per cent) would like occasional time off for family emergencies, deliveries or school events.

Just one in five (21 per cent) say reducing their hours, or going part time, would be valuable.

Nikki Slowey, joint programme director for Family Friendly Working Scotland, said: “Too many people still think working flexibly is about mothers and part time work.

“But our latest research to mark National Work Life Week shows this assumption is outdated.

“The ability to work flexibly is wanted by men and women and is sought after by workers of all ages, parents and non-parents alike.

“Many just want small changes, such as amending their start or finish time, or having occasional time off for family emergencies, deliveries and school events.”

The online poll quizzed 1,021 adults between September 5 and 7.

It showed that aside from pay, more than half of Scottish workers (53 per cent) say flexible working is important when looking for a new job.

However, only one in eight jobs in Scotland mention flexibility at the point of hire. This means employers miss out on attracting key talent.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) said their employer could do more to help them work flexibly and 14 per cent said employers were “all talk” regarding flexible working.

National Work Life Week is an annual campaign by Family Friendly Working Scotland and UK Working Families to encourage employers and employees to talk about well-being at work and work-life fit.