Corporate Advisory

One in five employees dare not ask about flexible working options

Despite their legal right to do so, over one in five UK private sector employees – equivalent to 5.5m nationally – are too afraid to discuss flexible working with their boss because they think they will say no, Aviva’s Working Lives report shows.

The findings come despite employees having the legal right to make a ‘statutory application’ to their employer to change their working pattern. Those aged 35-49 are the most likely to refrain from exercising this right despite the challenge some in this age group may face with juggling work and family life: nearly one in four shy away from starting a conversation for fear of rejection.

Despite the widespread fear of asking to change their work arrangements, of those employees who have specifically initiated a conversation, the vast majority have had their request accepted, as almost two in three private sector businesses say they already offer the opportunity for flexible working. Such findings suggest a potential disconnect between employees’ expectations of what their employers will allow, and the greater freedom that is actually available to them.

The fourth edition of Aviva’s Working Lives report – which examines the attitudes and experiences of employers and employees on issues affecting the present and future of the UK workplace, suggests there are clear business benefits to flexible working for both employers and employees.

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