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Londoners less likely to work flexibly


Just over half of employees based in the capital work flexibly, compared with 54% nationally

Londoners are less likely to work flexibly than the national average, despite their often longer commuting times, according to research from the CIPD.

Even though Londoners spend an average of 47 minutes travelling to work each way (rising to 56 minutes if including those based outside of the M25), only just over half (52%) of employees based in the capital work flexibly in some way. This compares with 54% nationally, where commute times average 31 minutes.

In the policy programme Opportunity through work: A manifesto for London, the CIPD is calling for the next mayor of London to lead a campaign, working with employers and professional bodies, to increase flexible working among Londoners.

Flexible working was shown to benefit Londoners, as almost seven in ten (69%) London-based employees who work flexibly reported they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, compared with 52% that do not work flexibly. Just 24% of London's flexible workers report being under excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week, compared with 42% of non-flexible workers.

David D’Souza, head of London at the CIPD, suggested that employers need to rethink their attitudes towards flexible working. “There’s a clear divide in the quality of working lives between London workers who work flexibly and those that don’t,” he said. “The London 2012 Olympics was supposed to have heralded a new dawn for flexible working in the capital but progress appears to have stalled, significantly impacting the quality of people’s working lives and their productivity.

“Flexible workers are happier workers but there is still far too much focus on traditional nine to five work cultures, and an ongoing challenge of businesses placing too much value on time spent at the desk and not enough on people’s actual outputs. Where Londoners are working flexibly this is mostly restricted to part-time working or flexi-time, unless they are a middle or senior manager.

“Rather than being the preserve of more senior managers the opportunity to work flexibly in different ways needs to become the norm for many more employees,” he added.