What could work look like in 2020?

Flexible working  - the new normal?

One of the big focuses in recent years has been on flexible working and how it has changed the concept of a “normal” working day. From challenging the norms of 9-5 working to commuting time counting as working time, there’s no doubt that the new decade could bring a new shape of working – but what does that mean for business leaders and their HR teams?

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of self-employed people is estimated to be around 4.8 million in the UK, accounting for 15% of the current workforce. The figure has ballooned in recent years, thanks to improvements in technology, allowing more people to “work on the go”, or choose their working hours to suit their lifestyle.

As benefits like these become more attractive to those thinking of turning to self-employment, traditional workplaces could feel obliged to change their ways too, so that they can attract and retain the best talent.

Recent statistics from the CIPD show that the number of people working flexible hours has increased five-fold in the last two decades and 54% of the UK’s workforce are now able to operate outside of typical 9-5 working hours. Stats from insurer Aviva show that one in four workers have changed jobs so that they can have greater flexibility – and 80% of Brits would turn down a job altogether if there were no flexible working arrangements.

Flexible working is already becoming a workplace pre-requisite and not only can it improve productivity, it can also attract talent from more marginalised candidates. Those who have a caring responsibility for example, or have a disability and are unable to conduct a regular commute, are suddenly open to a more attractive jobs market that is more suitable for their lifestyle.

However, as the new decade draws on, flexible working should always be taken with the view that it is to improve a work/life balance and not hinder it. Organisations and their HR teams will need to be ready to deal with requests from workers and perhaps prepare to update any documentation relating to workplace health and wellbeing, as well as introduce flexible working policies that outline correct procedures.

If you would like any advice relating to HR or any other aspect of employment, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

David Seals

David Seals


Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502218

Office: Dorking Office

Email: d.seals@downslaw.co.uk