HR ยท 17 June 2016

Young workers feel chained to their desks despite flexible working laws

chained to their desks
Young workers stay in the office beyond their contracted hours in order to give the appearance of working harder
More than 40 per cent of young workers think that putting in long hours is the best way to win the favour of management, according to new research into ?presenteeism? carried out by YouGov on behalf of office products company Ricoh.

Over two-thirds of the 18-26 year-olds interviewed admitted to staying in the office beyond their contracted hours in order to give the appearance of working harder ? while four-in-ten think working from home would damage their career progression.

?Britain cannot continue to allow these outdated and analogue working practices to triumph in the digital age,? said Ricoh?s UK and Ireland CEO Phil Keoghan. ?We should be equipping new generations of young professionals with the latest technologies and enabling them with personalised flexible working plans so they can bring new skills to businesses.

?Despite the government introducing new legislation to grant every employee the legal right to request flexible working almost two years ago, it seems that businesses are still rewarding the idea that employees who work the longest hours at their desks ? not those producing the best work ? will be favoured by management.?

The young employees consulted by YouGov indicated that they wanted more from politicians as well as employers. The majority indicated they don?t think the government is doing a good job of promoting such a culture, and half are keen for Westminster to step in and educate business owners about the benefits flexible working can provide.

Grants and funding to help firm leaders invest in flexible working technology were also high on young workers? agendas ? more than one-quarter think extra cash would spur employers into creating a flexible working culture.

The right to request flexible working was extended to include all workers in 2014 ? having previously been restricted to just those with children under 17. Yet additional recent research published by Timewise in May 2016 revealed that just nine per cent of vacancies advertised as paying over ?20,000 include any sort of flexibility.

Looking for more information about your legal obligations as a small employer dealing with flexible working requests? Don?t miss this guide from Business Advice resident HR expert Carole Thomson.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics ? as well as running a tutoring company.