Taking away the taboo?

Conference call provider Powwownow conducted a survey to find out whether people are aware of changes to flexible working legislation and how they are reacting. It could be the beginning of the end for flexible working stereotypes, says head of marketing Jacqui Keep.


There was a time when flexible workers were perhaps not taken as seriously as their nine to five counterparts; however, the recent change in law suggests this attitude may soon be a thing of the past. In June this year, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills passed legislation giving 20 million UK workers the formal right to request a flexible working pattern – a privilege only previously offered to parents and carers.

The move has been widely praised by unions and employment campaign groups, who believe that breaking the nine to five mould can only be a good thing, for employers and employees alike. Conference calling experts, Powwownow conducted a survey which revealed that over 40% of those requesting a flexible working pattern were parents. This will come as no surprise, as childcare is an expensive outgoing which can often defeat the purpose of working in the first place.

Working mum taboo

The fact the new legislation is aimed at everyone should help to take away the taboo and stereotypes attached to flexible working mums, who were perhaps lower down the pecking order when it came to being given larger projects or even a promotion.

The survey revealed that over half of those questioned were completely unaware of the new legislation, which could suggest that perhaps some employers would rather keep this quiet to avoid a flood of requests. However, 10% of respondents had already submitted their request, and over a third said they would definitely consider this in the future.

Productivity boost

Whilst there are pros and cons to flexible working, there’s no denying that if properly policed, then it can offer up many benefits for all involved. A large amount of those surveyed agreed that the new policy would boost productivity and improve staff retention.

For those interested in a flexible working pattern, HR experts Acas outlined the terms and conditions. Requests are open to those who have worked for a business for at least 26 weeks, and any business rejecting an employee request must state a sound business reason for doing so.

Whilst most seem to see the change as a positive, recent reports and research suggest that the so-called millennials, or Generation Y, harbour largely negative feelings towards flexible workers. Many may argue that Generation Y are perhaps somewhat short-sighted, seemingly blind to the fact that there may come a day when they are in need of a more tailored shift pattern.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinmusic/

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