Almost eight in 10 employees want flexible working hours, study reveals

Office workers walking across London Bridge on their way home from work during rush hour.
Four in five Brits agree overtime pay is their most desired work perk. Photo: Getty. (Alex Segre via Getty Images)

Over 76% of employees want flexible working hours more than other benefits such as a company-sponsored retirement plan or finishing early on a Friday, according to a study.

A four-day working week and family health insurance rounded off the top five benefits desired by workers, according to research by global HR and payroll experts Remote.

The study also found that four in five Brits agree overtime pay is their most desired work perk.

The study asked 10,000 employees across the UK, US, Germany, France and Holland to reveal what employees value the most when it comes to "work perks" and looked at how these differ across locations, industries and generations. Around 2,000 of the participants were from the UK.

Some 57% of Gen Z and 59% of millennials favoured in-person team building events. Younger workers also led the way in desiring access to mental health coaching, with 58% wanting this.

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On the other hand, baby boomers saw a company-sponsored retirement plan or pension as their ideal "work perk".

Those who worked in education and law were more likely to focus on a company-sponsored retirement plan or pension compared to those in IT or telecoms who valued flexible working hours.

Employees in the healthcare sector were the most keen on access to online therapy and mental health support, while workers in finance led the way in desiring access to virtual yoga or mindfulness sessions.

“Given the increased interest in mental health in recent years, I believe that employees are becoming more aware of the connections between work and their wellbeing,” psychotherapist Sarah Lee said.

The UK ranked third behind France and US with 62% of workers wanting a few hours off every month specifically for mental health improvement.

Almost half (47%) of UK workers wanted virtual mindfulness sessions — the highest of any country in the survey.

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Lee said: “Employee benefits such as flexible working can be another way to value employees or to be more inclusive. It demonstrates an understanding that not everyone has the same commitments or priorities.

“Individuals who feel valued, respected, and who have the flexibility to take care of themselves are better able to focus on work and if they feel good about themselves are more productive. In situations with poor working conditions, morale is often low and people can end up feeling helpless and depressed or demotivated.”

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