Majority of UK Workers Want to Keep Flexible Working

Flexible working

Recent research has uncovered that the majority of UK public sector workers prefer a flexible working approach

Flexible Working Is “More Attractive”

The Open University and Public Sector Executive (PSE) recently published a report, based on a poll of more than 2600 public sector employees, has claimed that remote and flexible working is making organisations “more attractive” after the poll found that 73% of employees would be more likely to stay in a role if they were offered remote or flexible working. This statistic increases to 90% when the employees are in the government and local authorities sector.

The poll included employees across all levels of seniority and found that 62% of staff now work remotely for at least one day per week, with 76% of those surveyed stating that they would like to work in this way.

Employees Would Prefer a Blended Approach

Despite the report finding employees want remote work, most public sector employees said that they would prefer a more blended approach. In the report, 29% of employees stated that they would want to be in the office one to two days per week, 26% said they had a preference for three to four days in the office whilst those who stated they would prefer to be in the office full time were in the minority (24%)

Likewise, of the employees currently working remotely full time, just 21% stated that they would want permanent remote work.

Have Organisations Embraced Flexible Working?

An independent HR coach and consultant, Gemma Bullivant has said that the findings of the report “were not surprising” but questioned if organisations have truly embraced flexible working models and remote culture.

“Many organisations are adopting some form of hybrid compromise, but it seems to me that many are doing this reluctantly, and most are not especially clear on how ‘hybrid’ is defined for them, or what specifically is missing in a remote or hybrid environment that needs to be addressed,” she said.

Buillivant also advised that businesses need to use this opportunity to “switch the conversation around ad create an environment which suits most people, as it will never suit everyone”.

More Ways to Encourage Retention

The report also found a demand for L&D and upskilling opportunities with the combination of digital service delivery and remote work, technology skills have become essential for employees. 35% of public sector employees polled reported that they would like to improve their digital skills.

In addition, 48% of the employees involved in the poll stated that they wanted to “get ahead” in their careers, with training in management and leadership the most popular for 29% of public sector employees. The report also brought to attention the link between retention and L&D with 80% of public sector employees reporting that learning and development is a central reason behind job satisfaction and retention.

However, 44% of employees stated that lack of time was the main reason for not partaking in training at work, whilst 29% of public sector employees believe that inflexible working hours prevent them from participating in further training.

L&D Is the Core of Satisfaction

Balvinder Johal, sector business development director at The Open University, said L&D remains at the core of satisfaction for those who want to “reach their full potential”. “The future will require more choice, driving better awareness, and rethinking the way learning is delivered in the workplace,” said Johal.

Bullivant added that L&D had already started moving to a more agile model in the pre-pandemic years, indicating how hybrid working has created the opportunity to provide learning “in a much more applicable and effective way – blended learning approaches, highly accessible and much more affordable.”

How Can We Help?

oneHR software can help you effectively implement a flexible working culture into your business with our intuitive home working manager. This will allow you to keep on top of who is working from home in your business quickly, removing any time wasted when employees forget who is in the office and who is remote.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help implement better flexible working processes, please get in contact with our team today.


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