No More Working from 9-5?

5th December 2018
No More Working from 9-5?

AUTHOR: Dan Prince

The 9 to 5 workday might not be a way to make a living much longer. Flexible working models are on the rise, and current numbers show that only a minority of workers now work traditional office hours. Employees in the UK have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment, and they must be considered and appealed within three months. With a range of flexible arrangements available and the demand for them high across generations, could the 9 to 5 working days soon be a thing of the past?

Current Working Hour Trends

Recent figures from a YouGov survey found that just 6% of employees worked the traditional hours of 9 am to 5 pm. The survey also revealed that almost half of people have some kind of flexible working arrangement, including job sharing and compressed hours. The most desired shift was shown to be 8 am to 4 pm, while 7 am to 3 pm was the second most popular. After pay and a sociable workplace, flexibility was the third most important factor for a good job. Respondents also rated convenient location as one of the top criteria. However, Peter Cheese, chief executive of the HR industry body the CIPD, says that flexible working rates are still low and that more firms need to be open to it.

Types of Flexible Working

Flexible working covers several different working arrangements. They include:

  • Job sharing - two people split the hours of one job

  • Working from home

  • Working part-time

  • Compressed hours - working full-time hours over fewer days

  • Annualised hours - employees work a certain number of hours over the year but have some flexibility about when they work them

  • Staggered hours - when an employee has different start, finish and break times than other employees

More on Flexible Working Numbers

According to Timewise, the demand for flexible working from employees was at 87% in 2017. Meanwhile, only just over 11% of jobs at £20k+ for full-time employment are openly advertised as offering flexible working. However, although not all employers advertise as offering flexible working, more of them might agree to flexible working arrangements when they’re requested. Nearly half of the flexible jobs included in their survey (46%) are part-time, while 19% are home-working jobs. They say that the greatest opportunity for growth is in flexible options other than part-time roles.

The Benefits of Flexible Working

Flexible working has benefits for both employees and employers. Employees granted flexible working report that they are more motivated and happy to stay in their jobs for longer. Employers who want to improve their employee retention should consider focusing on flexible working as one of the ways to do it. Flexible hours make maintaining a good work-life balance and juggling personal commitments easier for employees. Whether they have children, other caring responsibilities or other commitments to attend to, they’re sure to appreciate an employer that offers working hours to fit around their life.

Employers would do well to remember that the demand for flexible working is high, so making it clear that they’re open to it right from the start can help them find the right talent. Employees can also find advice on how to ask for flexible work from the government website and other sources.


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