Employees reluctant to ask about flexible working

More than a third of employees are hesitant to ask their employers about flexible working options, a YouGov survey commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found.

The poll of almost 1300 workers revealed that 42% are reluctant to ask their employer for more flexibility despite almost 9 in 10 firms offering flexible working.

The survey found:

  • 42% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking their employer for flexible working, while 40% would feel comfortable
  • 61% said they find it easy to strike a good work-life balance, while 37% find it hard
  • there were no major differences between the responses of men and women.

The CBI is calling on employers and the government to do more to promote the benefits of flexible working:

  • employers should include flexible work options on job advertisements
  • businesses should publish workplace diversity targets
  • the government should provide more support for childcare costs by extending free childcare provision and maternity leave.

Katja Hall, deputy director-general of the CBI, said:

"A lot of companies offer flexible working but the onus should be on businesses to presume in favour, challenge outdated assumptions and give their employees more confidence to ask about the options.

"Flexibility is not just for parents but for all staff. It can work for everyone including businesses. That's why we're calling for businesses to encourage flexibility from the job ad onwards, as well as the government to help families with childcare costs."

Talk to us about employee benefits.