Flexible working helps work-life balance yet is stigmatised in practice and works against career progression, a recent survey has found.

The ‘Opportunity Now Project 28-40’ report by PWC, found that a ‘more agile approach to work’ has significant benefits for the organisation as well as the employees, yet it is often viewed negatively by companies.

65% of men and 74% of women agreed that flexible working has enabled them to achieve the balance they want between career and home life, yet only 40% of respondents said their organisation values flexible working as a way of working efficiently.

The term ‘flexible working’ has lost some of its previous meaning and is now considered more a ‘mummy track’ – a provision for working mothers alone.

Two thirds of women surveyed agreed that in their organisations flexible working still means working long hours and more than half agreed that flexible working was resented by their colleagues. Furthermore, 75% of women believe work has to be their number one priority in order to advance in their career and less than half believe they could develop their career alongside other interests and commitments.

One respondent said:

“I think the importance of supporting flexible working has to be campaigned for. We require a cultural shift that working flexibly also equates to working efficiently and should not be any indication of lower interest in career development.”

The survey found work-life balance is important to women and more needs to be done to push companies to accept a different approach to working hours. Over 25% of respondents agreed that their organisation values hours worked over results achieved.

Photo by Bro Jeffrey Pioquinto