Sharon Reid


As rail and tube strikes have affected thousands of UK commuters during recent months and the nation could be set for more walk-outs in 2017, a recent survey by Powwownow, found that over half (53%) (1) of employed adults arrive to work stressed due to problems with their commute. Alongside this, road works and infrastructure changes have disrupted many of the UK’s roads and motorways.

Further research has revealed that only 6.2% (2) of business vacancy adverts mention flexible working, despite the fact that 46% (2) of employees want to work more flexibly to fit their jobs in with their modern lifestyles.

Flexible working is available to almost all employees with at least 26 weeks’ service, working both full-time and part-time. They have the right to ask for flexible working, including flexitime or a change in the location of the workplace e.g. working from home. Yet the figures show that few are requesting flexible working hours and workplaces are yet to encourage the scheme. Teresa 32, is a Graphic Designer who opted to go freelance after her requests for flexible working were continually being shunned:

“Before going freelance I worked in-house for a well known fashion brand, I asked my manager if I could work from home due to a difficult commute, initially, he seemed pretty open about it. But it soon became apparent that he was really humouring me until he refused my request point blank.

“Frustrated, I decided to go freelance, luckily my work has been fairly consistent, but the best thing is working from home means no costly, long, commute.”Credit: AquilaSol -Public, Transport, Commuters, transport, people, escalator, station, trains, stairs, commute, rotterdam, central station, ns,

According to a survey, 82% (3) of employed adults felt that they were more productive when they worked from home, with 44% (3) stating that having no distractions made them carry out more work effectively. Ade 38, a Recruitment Manager for a NHS Health Trust, is one such individual who has seen a rise in his productivity:

“I have been working from home for the past five months; my work is truly flexible, I am fortunate to spend three days at home and two in the office. During this period I have found at least a 15% increase in my productivity, my KPI results are above average and I can only put that down to flexible working.”

The survey also found that 40% (3) felt having flexible working hours meant they could avoid traffic by setting off to work at a different time. Ade continues:

“Even the days I’m due in the office I’m subject to flexible working hours; if I opt to start work later I can get a seat on the tube with ease which in itself is a good stress-free start to my day.”

Nearly a fifth (18%) (4) of working mums in the UK have had to leave their jobs after having a request for flexible working denied by their bosses.  However, academics at Lancaster University predict that around half of UK businesses will input flexible working by the end of 2017, with this predicted to rise to 70% by 2020. (2)

Jon Tracey is the Director of Services at Star Leaf, providers of video and voice communication systems; John is a firm supporter of flexible working:

“Rail and tube strikes, and delays have affected thousands of commuters across the UK and it’s leaving people stressed and flustered before they’ve even made it to work in the morning. People have to leave hours for their commute; finding alternative routes or walking for long distances and getting home is just as bad. It’s not just trains that are slowing people down. Road works and closures on some of the UK’s busiest motorways are causing huge congestion problems and unpredictable commute times.

“In this modern age, there’s no longer a need for the 9-5 working day. We need to move this mentality into the modern era. It’s easier than ever to have your staff working from home, with advancements in technology. Research has shown that people are more productive when working from home and with today’s technology, specifically business quality video; they can remain fully engaged as if they were actually in the office.”

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