Lack of Flexible Working Leaves Employees Missing Major Life Events

Small alarm clock is sat on a desk next to a laptop and a pot of pens.

On the 30th June 2014 the Government extended the Flexible Working Policy to all employees under section 47 of the Employment Act 2002.

While this adjustment in statutory rights was deemed to many as an evolution in the workplace, there has been little enquiry as to the number of employers which have embraced the policy; with no full Government review or independent commission as to the number of organisations actioning the policy.

Furthermore, the Flexible Working Policy itself, is somewhat weak in it’s support for employees; as employers have the right to refuse any flexible working request on subjective grounds, such as the burden of additional costs on the business, or having a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.

It appears that the Flexible Working Policy can be seen as more of a goodwill gesture to employees, rather than a cornerstone in evolving the workplace.

A graphic illustrating a company culture statistic. There is a tree, and it says 67% of employees have missed out on a major life events due to the lack of flexible working.

The Flexible Working Policy may be in place, but that doesn’t mean it is actioned or supported in all organisations.

Therefore, I recently conducted a survey to fully understand the impacts on people who do not have access to flexible working, and how their lives have been affected by the restrictions of rigid working hours.

The findings have been summarised and reviewed in a whitepaper –Flexible Working – The Employee Reality.

Throughout this whitepaper, we have revealed the significant data that has been found by the survey, and looked at what organisations need to do if they are to become an agile working environment that is future proof.

Flexible working is the future, it does not need to be limited by sector, role or industry.

If businesses cannot find a way to adopt such policies and fully support their employees, they may find recruitment difficult, and a see severe drop in skilled talent.

As detailed in this review, the employee reality is far from what many would like us to believe.

A vibrant graphic detailing a company culture statistic. It says, 83% of employees have been made to feel guilty by their employers for taking time off for a major life event.

Incredibly the survey has revealed that 67% of employees have missed major life events due to a lack of flexible working within their organisation.

40% had missed hospital or health-related appointments due to a lack of flexible working, while 15% had missed moving house, 10% had missed a child’s school activity and 8% had missed a family funeral.

Furthermore, 83% of employees have been made to feel guilty by their employers for taking time off for a major life event.

As this data reveals, there is a far wider impact on employees lives when organisations restrict the possibility of flexible working.

Major life events play a significant role in our emotional and mental wellbeing, and the relationships connected to these have a critical impact on our wellbeing, so why are we creating organisations that are limiting them.

Read and download the full whitepaper here.


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.