A recent report from the CIPD shows that the number of employees using formal flexible working arrangements – such as part-time working, term-time working, compressed hours and job-sharing – has flat-lined since 2010. This is despite the right to request flexible working being extended to all employees in 2014. Why is this?
The government is taking this seriously enough to set up a Flexible Working Task Force to look at the issue and run a campaign to try and increase the uptake of flexible working. But are we being fooled by the official figures? The CIPD report admits that there is a continuing growth in informal flexible working arrangements which are not recorded. And we all know how much work is now being done by people using their mobile devices on the train, at home and even on holiday.
So have we got to a stage where so-called flexible working is so common that it has stopped being recorded as a different work pattern? People are taking the odd day to work at home so they can catch up on ‘admin’ they can’t get done in the office. They are catching up on emails on their smartphone, whenever and wherever they can. Is that ‘flexible working’ or is that just ‘working’ in the digital age?