November’s Flexible Working Index has seen a new record for employees expressing a preference to work ‘fully flexible’ hours.

The month also saw a rising trend amongst employers offering roles with non-traditional working hours.

More workers prefer ‘fully flexible’ hours than ever before

In November 2022, more than one in four workers (26%) said that they would prefer a role which came with fully flexible hours, where staff complete their working hours whenever they choose.

This is a record rate for the Index and up from 23 percent in October – a rise of 13 percent.
Slightly fewer workers said that they would prefer roles with ‘core hours’ (whereby staff must work during certain times, e.g. 11am-3pm, but are given flexibility outside of that), or ‘a little flexibility’ over working hours, compared to October figures.Employees stating a preference for jobs offering core hours fell by 14 percent during November – down from 14 percent to 12 percent. Preferences for ‘a little flexibility’ around hours fell by 7 percent (down from 14% to 13%).

Employers are moving towards more flexible working hours

Between October and November, the number of roles advertised as offering fully flexible hours actually fell by 14 percent (down from 34% to 29%).

However, there was an increase in employers advertising roles with a little flexibility or that run on the ‘core hours’ model.

During November, the number of roles advertising ‘a little flexibility’ on hours increased by 29 percent – up from 24 percent of all roles in October to 31 percent

And roles where core hours are on offer rose by 6 percent – up from 34 percent to 36 percent.

Employers and employees prize flexibility on location

When it comes to working location, fully remote roles appear to be in the resurgence.

The number of ‘fully remote’ roles being advertised in November shot up by 67 percent, compared to the previous month – up from 6 percent of all roles to 10 percent. This marks a recovery in the number of fully remote roles on offer.

In comparison, October’s Index saw a 40 percent drop in fully remote roles being advertised – down from 10 percent to 6 percent.

Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Flexa Careers, comments:

“We’re all familiar with the idea of spending 8 out of our 24 hours each day working, starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm. And for farmers who are limited by daylight hours, or traders who are tied to the opening and closing of the stock market, rigid working patterns might be helpful. But this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone.

“Whether it’s a case of needing to fit the school run or doctor’s appointments around work, or just that individuals find they’re more productive earlier or later in the day – often, set hours simply don’t always work. So it makes sense that we’re seeing the tide turn on traditional working hours.

“This month’s Index saw a record number of workers saying they would prefer fully flexible hours. Employers are also experimenting with relaxing working hours in ways that are practical for them. For many, having teams work together during certain times is proving to be a more sustainable way of answering to the demand for more flexible hours, whilst also keeping distributed teams connected. And we’ll be watching closely as working hours continue to evolve in line with the needs of both businesses and their teams.”

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.