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Flexible working more important than role prestige and pay

A third of Brits (30%) say that flexible working is so important they would prioritise it over a more prestigious role

The IWG Global Workspace Survey also found that almost a third (28%) of UK employees value being able to choose their work location more than an increase in pay, and that 73% believe flexible working has now become socially accepted.

Most UK employees (80%) would choose a job that offered flexible working over a similar role that didn’t, the research found.

Organisations are responding to employees' calls for flexibility, according to IWG. In the past 10 years 84% of businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy, or are planning to adopt one.

The survey also found that 71% of businesses think that offering flexible working enables them to expand their talent pool. Similarly, many UK businesses (82%) are adapting to improve talent retention by introducing flexible working.

However, some businesses have been slow to take up flexible working policies. More than half (58%) of those surveyed say that changing the culture in organisations that have longstanding, non-flexible arrangements is the main barrier. Meanwhile, 43% said that fear of how flexible working may affect the overall company culture is the biggest obstacle.

For many employers and employees, flexible working is now the norm. Half (50%) of those surveyed state that they now work outside their company’s main location for at least half the working week or more, and for 70% of people a choice of working environment is a key factor when evaluating new career opportunities.

Mark Dixon, CEO and founder of IWG, said: “Last year our Global Workspace Survey talked about reaching a tipping point, but what we are seeing now is that flexible working is considered by many to be the new norm for any business that is serious about productivity, agility and winning the war for top talent. Indeed, half of all our respondents claim to work outside their main office location for at least half of the week.

"Businesses around the world are facing multiple challenges including ensuring that their business is agile enough to adapt to change. Our research shows that businesses that haven’t already considered the financial and strategic benefits of flexible workspace need to do so now. Otherwise they face being seen as out of touch; both with their competitors and with the demands of the modern workforce on what constitutes a great day at work, which means losing out on the best talent.”

More than 15,000 professionals from a range of different industries in 80 countries were surveyed in The IWG Global Workspace Survey. In the UK 2,153 respondents took part.