Flexible working is not easily defined. This is because it is often seen by what it isn’t – not the 9-to-5, not the daily commute to a central workplace – as opposed to by what it is. Nevertheless, people think they know it when they see it, and as a result certain working patterns or ways of working, such as flexi-time, working part-time hours, or working from home are regarded as types of 'flexible working'. This report looks at recent trends in flexible working, and since we have to set boundaries around the analysis, we’ve concentrated on trends in when and where work is done.

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Overall, the report suggests that while many people already benefit from flexible working, a significant proportion of the workforce are not being given the option to work flexibly. Ultimately, informing managers of the many benefits of flexible working, and training them on how to manage flexible workers, is the most effective way of significantly increasing the quantity and quality of flexible working. To this end, the CIPD is working with government and a range of stakeholders, including business lobby organisations, professional bodies, unions and key charities, as part of a Flexible Working Taskforce, with a remit to boost flexible working across the economy. The taskforce, which was established in early 2018 and is due to run until autumn 2019, will use its ability to collectively reach and influence hundreds of thousands of employers. It will highlight the wide-ranging business case for flexible working, while also promoting guidance on how to create more flexible jobs and how to manage flexible workers.

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Topic pages

Flexible working

Guidance, practical tools and resources to help you embed flexible working in your organisation

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Flexible Working Task Force

Providing resources produced by both the CIPD and the Flexible Working Task Force to help you understand the benefits of flexible working and increase the opportunities available in your organisation

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