Work-life balance charity Working Families surveyed 1,063 UK parents and carers of dependent children under 18 regarding flexible working practices developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show that:-

  • 90% of employees want employers to maintain flexible working practices put in place during the pandemic
  • 84% of respondents are now working flexibly, whereas only 65% were offered flexible working options before the pandemic
  • 47% of those surveyed said they had been working extremely flexibly or very flexibly during lockdown, compared to 23% prior to lockdown. 
  • Of the 35% of respondents that had not been working flexibly at all before the lockdown, 72% are now working flexibly. 
  • The most common flexible working arrangements reported by parents and carers during lockdown were working from home (63%) and flexing their hours (52%).
  • 48% of all respondents said they planned to make changes to work more flexibly after lockdown.
  • Employers seemed to be putting plans in place in anticipation of an increase in flexible working requests: 28% of parents and carers said their employer planned to allow more working from home, while 10% said their employer expected to support staff to flex their hours across the week.

Working Families called on the government to strengthen the statutory right to request flexible working, stating "Working parents’ and carers’ childcare arrangements can break down at any time - they need to be able to make a flexible working request from day one in a new job. That an employer has three months to consider the request, and their reasons for turning it down, should be urgently reviewed". 

It also called on the government to implement its plan to introduce legislation requiring employers to advertise jobs with flexible options where possible.