A YouGov survey (which surveyed over 4000 adults)has found that only 6% of people now work 9am to 5pm and almost half of people work flexibly by job share and compressed hours.
The study found 37% of full time workers would like to start work 8am - 4pm and 21% would like to work 7am - 3pm. Flexibility was important to all people irrespective of age and childcare commitments. Those who did work flexibly said it improved their motivation and encouraged them to stay in their job for longer.
Every employee can make a request for flexible working after 26 weeks of employment and only one request can be made per year.
Requests should be made in writing, stating the date of the application, whether a previous application has been made and the date of that application.
The employer then has a three month decision period (which can be extended by agreement) to consider the request, discuss it with the employee (if appropriate)and notify the employee of the outcome.
The employer must deal with the request in a reasonable manner and can only refuse a request for one of the eight reasons set out in the legislation.
As the pace of life gets busier, time is a commodity all employees want and there can be benefits to employers in trying to accommodate these requests.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of HR industry body the CIPD, said organisations willing to offer flexible working would attract a higher number of applicants. But he said more firms needed to step up: "Uptake of flexible working is still low and most jobs are not advertised as being open to different working arrangements," he said.