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New study shows flexible working boosts productivity for managers

Managers are no longer stigmatizing flexible working, believing it will boost productivity, even though long hours are still seen as necessary for career development, research shows. 

According to a survey by the  Birmingham university’s Equal Parenting Project, Managers are more positive than ever about flexible work. Three-quarters think it increases productivity, and 62.5% think it increases motivation. 

However, the authors noted that they view some forms of flexible work—especially flextime and home work, which have become more common during the pandemic—more positively than others, including those that specifically benefit parents, such as job sharing, part-time work, and compressed hours.

The authors, Holly Birkett of Birmingham Business School and Sarah Forbes of the University of York, said that employers can close this gap by promoting all forms of flexible working and changing performance appraisals to “break down the stigma around flexible working” that existed before the flexible work pandemic commuters on Metrolink trams in Manchester.

  1. One hundred businesses in the United Kingdom have agreed to a four-day work week without pay.
  2. They are calling on policymakers to require employers to report flexible working practices as part of their gender pay gap obligations and to make flexible working the default. to employers and demand from them a reason why work cannot be done flexibly.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for the future of work, said the report showed “the consensus is there and flexible working is here to stay.

She said Labour’s new deal for workers would force employers to accept requests for flexible working, including part-time, compressed, and fixed-term work, where reasonable.

“But the Conservatives continue to slow down, making flexible work the default, and they’ve kissed, putting the onus on workers to ask for this right,” he said.

Maria Miller, the Tory chair of the women and equalities committee, welcomed the recent announcement that workers have a legal right to demand flexible working from the start but admitted ministers must step up their efforts.

Flexible Hours

“If work is to become an equal playing field for men and women, we must give women every opportunity to make it happen,” she said.
The study found that although there was less emphasis on presenteeism than before the pandemic, there was progress in the culture of long working hours during the pandemic, with a higher number of managers saying that employees had to work long hours to get ahead of 
3.3 percent in 2019 to 35.2% in 2021 is translated, and that number rose back to 1.9 percent. 

The study also showed the extent to which hybrid work between the office and home has become more common. In 2022, 69.3% of managers reported that their organization did not expect employees to return to the office more than four days a week, compared to 59% in 2021.

Meanwhile, the percentage of managers who expect their employees to be in the office only one day a week almost doubled, from 10.5% in 2021 to 20.14% in 2022. 

Birkett said: “Overall, managers are much more positive about flexible working than before the pandemic and believe their organizations are more likely to support flexible working in the future.”

Forbes added, “This is really positive news for parents, caregivers, and those who want to work flexibly for wellbeing reasons.” This change is likely to be particularly beneficial for women who have suffered for years without quality and well-paid flexible work.

The survey found that organizations are increasingly advertising new jobs for flexible work roles, and this is supported by managers who believe that it should be included in advertisements to attract potential candidates.

At the same time, the authors also found that the majority of flexible working hours are done informally 45% work from home and 36.5% flexible working time. They warned this was “uncertain,” as replacing a line manager could mean the employee could no longer work in this way.

The study identified the emergence of a still-worrying control culture. Almost one-third of managers said their employers used surveillance software and/or monitored emails, but four-fifths thought this meant employers did not trust their employees, and nearly two-thirds admitted using workplace monitoring methods improved their own performance. stress levels.

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