More than a quarter of flexible workers say they are now doing more hours

flexible workers

More than a quarter (27%) of flexible workers say they put in more hours than when they were tied to a traditional schedule, according to research on behalf of the Association of Accounting Technicians (ATT).

The survey of 1,500 flexible workers, conducted by OnePoll in November 2018, also revealed that a fifth (21%) believe they have become much more productive after moving away from traditional working.

Other benefits cited by respondents included feeling happier (38%), having more time to spend with their families (36%), and feeling less stressed (35%).

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The survey found that British employees are more likely to be able to choose to set the hours they work (47%) than choose the location they work from (19%). Almost four in 10 (38%) respondents said the option of flexible working applied to all of their organisation, while 15% said it was offered to them specifically. Almost a fifth (18%) said they had to ask for the option.

Olivia Hill, chief HR officer at the ATT, said: “Flexible working has a huge number of benefits for employees and employers alike. It seems employers are becoming more likely to allow flexible hours as well as flexibility with location, assuming that as long as the job gets done, it doesn’t really matter when and where it happens. The most important thing is productivity.”

Half (50%) of the respondents to the survey said they could never see themselves returning to the traditional routine, with three-quarters (75%) considering it a key perk of their job, and 73% saying they would be reluctant to leave their current place of work if the new one did not allow the same flexibility.

However, 18% said they were worried that flexibility gave them less opportunity to engage in workplace social life and events. In addition, 15% said flexible working made them lonelier, 14% admitted to feeling guilty for working more conveniently than their fellow employees, and 13% expressed concerns over being passed over for promotion or other work responsibilities.

As part of the wider study, 500 employees who do not work flexibly were also surveyed. More than half (53%) said they think they do more work than colleagues who take advantage of flexible working, and more than a third (37%) said they are envious of those working flexibly.

Hill said: “It’s worrying that many flexible workers feel that their colleagues see them as workshy or feel that they may be passed over for promotions. For this to change, flexible working has to become more accepted and commonplace in every work environment.”