Traditional nine-to-five working is no longer the norm

Last month, a YouGov survey, commissioned by McDonald’s, confirmed that many UK workers believe traditional nine-to-five working is no longer the norm.

The research found that:

  • 66% of employees would rather start their working day before 9.00am and then finish earlier, e.g. by working 8.00am to 4.00pm
  • Only 14% of employees, if given the choice, would opt for set working hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • 27% of employees who work in London want their work day to begin after 9.00am; and
  • 19% of 18-24 year olds wanted a much later start time and finish time, e.g. 10.00am to 6.00pm.

Missing an opportunity?

Although 86% of employees questioned indicated that they would prefer more flexibility over working hours, the CIPD believe that those employers who offer flexibility remain in the minority and they could be missing out on increased engagement, wellbeing and productivity as a result.

Flexible working law

Employees only have a right to request a flexible working arrangement after 26 weeks’ continuous service.

Whilst there is no automatic entitlement for you to agree, you should be mindful of possible risks including areas of discrimination.

If it’s achievable, however, the benefits of flexible working can be substantial, typically a happier and more productive workforce.

You may also reap other benefits such as a reduction in lateness due to rush hour traffic.


  • Don’t automatically discount a flexible working request – explore and discuss – there is often a middle ground that will suit both parties well.
  • The benefits may even be seen if you permit a smaller change to working hours, e.g. by 30 or 45 minutes.
  • Always test on a trial basis to see if it works. Make sure everything is documented clearly in case the working pattern doesn’t work out.

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