Flexible working has increased five-fold in the last 20 years

With the number of people working flexible hours increasing by nearly 50% in the last 20 years, this is important when bringing equality to the workplace.

The number of people working ‘flexible hours’ has increased five-fold in the last two decades, according to a report by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The study into working trends shows that only 9.5% of people in the UK worked flexible hours when a Labour Force Survey was carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 1999. Today, however, this has drastically increased to 54% according to figures from the CIPD.

Work-life balance

Despite this huge development in improving work-life balance, professionals still want more autonomy. The 2019 UK Working Lives Report reveals that two in three professionals (68%) would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available. 


Commenting on the analysis, Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said: “It’s great to see that employees are being offered greater flexibility and autonomy over their work. This certainly is a step in the right direction in ensuring that the workforce is motivated and engaged in meaningful work. The advancements of technology over the past 20 years have no doubt played a significant part in making this possible. The collaborative software now available means that team members can communicate and work remotely with ease.

“Flexible working also plays an important role in bringing equality to the workplace. People with disabilities or caring responsibilities often are unable to commute to the office or work during conventional hours, therefore the option to work part-time, compressed hours, or remotely is a necessity. As more employers begin to see the opportunities associated with flexible working, we can both boost diversity and inclusion and help end the dire skills shortages which are impacting many sectors.” 

Bendfits of flexible working

Simon Blockley, CEO of Guidant Global, added: “Through offering the option to work flexibly, businesses can access a wider, deeper, and more diverse pool of talent to drive increased innovation, creativity, and profitability.

“Here at Guidant Global, 82% of our entire workforce have flexible working arrangements in place, allowing mums to fulfil their career goals, dads to spend more time with their children, neurodivergent people and people with physical disabilities the options to work in ways better aligned with their individual needs. We are also working with a number of clients to ensure that this approach to flexible working – and the associated benefits – are replicated across the wider business landscape.” 

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