Seven out of 10 UK managers think the old idea of 'nine to five' working is dying out in favour of more flexible working arrangements, according to a new survey commissioned by Vodafone.
Among these "forward-looking bosses", 90% enable their staff to work flexibly to some extent, rather than expect them to stick rigidly to traditional working hours. ?Managers revealed themselves to be relatively open-minded about when and how work is done.
Almost two thirds (63%) of the 1,000 managers surveyed said they did not mind staff doing personal things like calling family members or checking their social networking accounts, as long as they get their work done.
Peter Kelly, enterprise director at Vodafone UK, said: "What this research shows is that a cultural shift has started. For many people in the UK, the way we work is changing. Britain's bosses are realising that successful businesses must focus on generating results, not on monitoring what employees do at their desks."
But nearly two-thirds of managers (65%) ask their employees to work outside of traditional office hours, at least occasionally.
There is a marked difference between the private sector, where 70% of managers request extra hours from staff, and the public sector, where 58% do so.
Private sector managers were also more likely to say that working outside of normal office hours is now expected (15%) than their counterparts in the public sector (8%).
Differing attitudes towards working outside of the 9 to 5 are also obvious between men and women. More female (38.6%) than male bosses (30.6%) said that they never ask their staff to work outside of normal office hours. And 15.4% of male managers say it's expected for staff to work outside of working hours, compared with only 9.6% of women.
Of the bosses who do ask their employees to work outside work hours, 93% think that it is only fair that staff sometimes attend to personal tasks during work time, although mostly (73%) with the caveat that it has to be done in moderation.
Kelly commented: "A new generation of workers is coming through the ranks. They prefer fitting work around their lives rather than the other way around. People don't mind doing some work in the evening or at the weekend, but in return, they expect bosses to cut them some slack so they can see to personal chores."
The survey also showed that bosses appreciate the impact of technology on modern working patterns: 62% think the line between work and personal life has become blurred since people started using smartphones and working from home.
Altogether, six out of 10 managers (59%) said that they allow their employees to work from home to some extent but only 12% of bosses equip their employees with smartphones as standard.
OnePoll on behalf of Vodafone UK conducted the research into the attitudes of 1,000 managers across the private and public sector.