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Bringing Flexi back

Posted by Greg Fearn Nov 15, 2017

The Taylor Report has concluded that almost 26.2% of the employed workforce is in part-time work and the majority of them are not seeking full-time employment. With more and more workers working non-standard hours, how is this likely to affect the office environment?  

Whilst full-time, permanent work as an employee continues to make up the majority of employment in the UK at 63%, there has been a notable shift towards more flexible forms of working.

Currently, almost 26.2% of employment is in part-time work, compared to 25% in 1997 and although a small number of part-time workers say that they are working part-time because they could not find a full-time job, 70.7% say that they do not want a full-time job. This increased demand for part time work means that working space for staff has become less rigid with rising numbers of employees ‘hot desking’ on their days in the office rather than taking up a fixed space.

The rise in flexible working practices over the last 10 years has helped to fuel the growth in part-time work with 92% of employers saying that they have at least one form of flexible working practice available in their workplace and 60% of employees saying that they have done some form of flexible working in the last 12 months. 

The growth in flexible working was highlighted as one of the major changes in employment in recent decades and encouraged the government to consider how it can further promote genuine flexibility in the workplace when it conducts a statutory evaluation of the Right to Request Flexible Working in 2019. It also suggested that the Government work closely with organisations like Timewise and Working Families to encourage a wider range of employers to adopt flexible working and initiatives like “happy to talk flexible working”.

This increasingly mobile workforce means that office spaces will need to become less formal and more fluid in their construction to allow companies to accommodate fluctuating numbers of employees. Companies are unlikely to want to have a desk for each staff member as they know that these will not always be full, but they will need enough space to make sure every employee has somewhere to work. Furthermore, developers will need to incorporate discreet and spacious storage spaces to allow employees to store their work away neatly until the next time they are in the office.

Many developers have already started to incorporate these elements into new developments but what about their existing developments which may not allow for these to be incorporated so easily? Are the costs of creating premises of this nature worthwhile for a landlord or a tenant?

This post was edited on Jan 10, 2018 by Karolina Labrenz

This post has 3 subscribers

Comments (2)

Claire Williams says... Dec 11, 2017

New homes (and old) will also need to be adapted to accommodate the change in working styles - whither 'flexible' or 'smart'.  Computing facilities at home will place an increased load on domestic circuits, and thought will have to be given to how best home office facilities can be installed.

Greg Fearn says... Dec 11, 2017

Completely agree Claire. What will be interesting is whether companies are willing to fund such improvements in home office facilities to help decrease their own overheads.

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