Aviva Working Lives Report 2017

Aviva’s Working Lives report, conducted in Q1 of 2017 examined the attitudes and experiences of employers and employees on issues affecting the present and future of the UK workplace.

The findings suggested there are clear business benefits to flexible working for both employers and employees.


According to our report*, two in three employers (65%) think the private sector workforce will work more flexibly in five years’ time and over half (51%) of all private sector employees say they already do so, either regularly or occasionally, within their role.


Here are some of the key findings from our research with SMEs and employees:

  • 5.5m workers in the private sector are afraid of asking for flexible working as they expect their employer to say ‘no’ **
  • Reluctance comes despite employees having the legal right to make a request to their employer for greater flexibility in their job.
  • A third (34%) of businesses don’t offer flexible working options.
  • Two in three (65%) businesses expect the private sector workforce to be working more flexibly by 2022.
  • There are clear employee retention benefits for businesses through flexible working - almost two-thirds (63%) of employees are more likely to stay with an employer who offers this.


The benefits of working flexible hours: Improved business performance, productivity and happiness

Aviva’s research highlights clear business benefits for those employers who are willing – and able – to embrace flexible working. More than half (51%) of businesses reported it increases productivity and more than two-thirds (68%) believe it makes their employees happier.


Flexible working also helps with retention and recruitment with almost two-thirds (63%) of employees admitting they are more likely to stay with an employer who offers it, and when it comes to hiring the best talent, more than one in three (36%) employees identify flexible working as a deal breaker when considering a new job.


The types of flexible working options most valued by employees were: working from home 23%, the option to work longer hours over a shorter number of days 22%, the option to work varying/flexible hours each day across the week 19%.


Gareth Hemming, director of SME insurance at Aviva UK, said:

“Whilst flexible working may not be a practical option for all businesses they may still be able to introduce some degrees of flexibility – even on an ad hoc basis that may be beneficial.


Flexible working patterns are becoming increasingly common and businesses are predicting this trend will grow over the next five years. Indeed, many businesses have already adapted their operations – and a number have said they are considering it for the future as they recognise the benefits to both employer and employee.”



*500 private sector employers and 2000 private sector employees were interviewed in Q1 2017 as part of the 2017 Working Lives report.

**Based on ONS Labour statistics



Article Publish Date: Wednesday 5 July 2017

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