Making Flexible Working a Reality for All

Better work means better working lives

Raising job quality requires a multi-faceted approach and collaboration by all stakeholders. The CIPD’s Job Quality Index and UK Working Lives report findings determined 7 dimensions of job quality on of which is Work-Life Balance and access to Flexible working.

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.

The right to request flexible working came into force on 30 June 2014 and made the workplace more accessible for a wide range of people. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working but must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible.

Types of flexible working

There are numerous types of flexible working including Job sharing (where two people do one job and split the hours. Home working. Working Part time hours (less than full-time hours) Compressed hours (working fewer days while working full-time hours). Flexitime (working core hours but able to arrive and depart within set periods). Annualised hours (working a certain number of hours in one 12-month period but with flexibility for the rest of their yearly time or when there’s extra demand at work – think seasonal shifts for example). Staggered hours (different start, finish and break times from other workers). Phased retirement (older workers can reduce their hours and work part time).

Inclusive culture

Ensuring people are able to participate in the labour market is key to our economy. The availability of flexible ways of working, and fostering an inclusive workplace culture, helps many to work who would otherwise not be in a position to do so. 

CIPD research shows that the uptake of most types of flexible working has largely plateaued over the last decade, despite the right to request being available to all. Furthermore, although flexible working benefits individuals and employers, it can, for some, can bring additional pressures for instance uncertainty over where the next pay cheque will coming from.

Modern Working

The Review of Matthew Taylor’s Modern Working Practices report sets a vision of Good Work – fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment and recommends that as part of the statutory evaluation of the Right to Request Flexible Working in 2019, the government should consider how further to promote genuine flexibility in the workplace.

Flexible Working Taskforce

To help unlock potential in the labour market the government launched a joint taskforce on flexible working. Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD co-chairs the Task Force.

“Flexible working is key to unlocking employment and progression opportunities across many under-represented groups in the labour market. It can also play a crucial role in an organisation’s performance through enabling better work-life balance, improving employee engagement and retention and key outcomes including productivity and delivering more flexible service to customers.”

Peter Cheese Chief Executive of the CIPD

Our campaigns

Joint Conference with Acas North West

In September 2018 we held a joint conference with Acas North West. Attended by almost 100 HR professionals, employers, people managers and trade union representatives, delegates participated in hour-long discussions on the benefits of flexible working.

Organiser Rachel Burnham CIPD Manchester Branch Committee Member and lead on our Public Policy Panel and Learning & Development has long been a hugely active campaigner for our branch. Peter Cheese delivered the opening keynote. All resources from the conference are published on the Acas North West website and accessible below.

Flexible Working fringe event at the CIPD’s Annual Conference

Facts of Flexible Working CIPD Manchester

In November 2018 we held fringe event on flexible working. With a kick-off at 08:00 we made this a breakfast meeting. Around 60-65 people braved the very early start to discuss how to make flexibility at work a reality for all.

Rachel decided on a Cake Camp format (a novel way of encouraging discussion and sharing of knowledge and ideas in a time-based approach facilitators moving from table to table to lead small working group discussions.

Flexible Working discussion points

  • challenges in convincing senior managers to embrace flexibility
  • feedback from Flexible Hiring Champions
  • workplace cultures supporting flexible working

Our Flexible Working collections

Ian Pettigrew another CIPD Manchester Branch Committee Member (leading on Social Action) curated the event live and Gary Cookson an Ambassador for our branch and one of the Annual Conference blog-squad summarised the event.


Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2018). Good Work A response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. [online] HM Government.
Available at: [Accessed 12 Jan. 2019].

CIPD (2016). Focus on commuting and flexible working. Employee Outlook. [online] CIPD.
Available at: [Accessed 12 Jan. 2019].

CIPD (2018). UK Working Lives The CIPD Job Quality Index. [online] CIPD.
Available at: [Accessed 12 Jan. 2019].

Location Manchester, England E-mail Hours Our hours vary according to our programme.
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close