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Is the 9 to 5 culture harming productivity?

The rigidity of the traditional '9 to 5' culture is damaging employee productivity and causing stress levels to rise, according to new research. So could flexible working be the answer?

A recent survey of nearly 2,000 office workers by ICT company 2e2 showed that 63% of respondents felt 'constrained' by 9 to 5 working, believing that they would be more productive if allowed more flexibility over their hours. Just over half felt that they were more productive when working from home and that advances in technology had made remote working easier.

The study also looked at how the daily commute affects productivity, revealing that transport problems are costing workers an average of 1.5 working days each year, as well as contributing to mounting stress levels and fatigue.

Flexible working practices could hold the answer. Think tank Demos has said flexible working is "essential" to deal with changes in the UK population and ensure economic growth, a message supported by the coalition government. However, experts point to the need for a sea-change in employers' attitudes towards flexible hours and home working, and a need for productivity to be measured by output instead of by hours spent behind a desk.

Acas provides support for employers through training in the implementation of family-friendly work practices and the pdf  Advice leaflet - The right to apply for flexible working (for requests made before 30 June 2014) [154kb].

Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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