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Managers: “flexible working helps productivity”

A recent survey has revealed that managers no longer stigmatise flexible working, believing it results in improved productivity – though long hours are still seen as essential for career progress. The survey, by the Equal Parenting Project, questioned 597 managers across the UK.

Managers appear to be more positive about flexible working than they have ever been, with three-quarters believing it increases productivity and 62.5% considering it boosts motivation. However, it was noted that managers are more positive about some forms of flexible work – especially flexitime and home working, which became more common during the pandemic – than others, including those that particularly benefit parents, such as job shares, part-time work and compressed hours.

Employers can address this disparity by promoting all types of flexible working and altering performance evaluation to “break down the flexible working stigma” that was prevalent before the pandemic. Policymakers are also urged to require employers to report on flexible working practices as part of their gender pay gap obligations, as well as making flexible working the default for employers and requiring them to make a case for why jobs cannot be performed flexibly.