Research shows that many of us would like to work more flexibly. Lack of flexibility can even prompt some employees to look for a new job or even leave a sector altogether. Quality flexible working can help: 

  • address skills shortages 
  • attract and retain talent and support diversity 
  • narrow the gender pay gap
  • improve employee job satisfaction and loyalty
  • support employee wellbeing and work-life balance
  • empower organisations to be more agile and responsive to change.

While there is no single formally agreed definition of flexible working, the CIPD defines flexible working as giving flexibility over where, when and the hours people work. 

The term flexible working is used to cover a wide range of working arrangements, including (but not limited to): 

  • part-time working
  • job-sharing
  • flexitime
  • compressed hours
  • annualised hours
  • term-time working
  • working from home
  • hybrid working. 

With a growing demand for flexible working arrangements, it’s vital that people professionals can plan and manage flexible working in a way that meets demand and suits business needs. 

This guide gives advice on how to implement different types of flexible working and how to measure and evaluate those arrangements.

What is flexible working?

The term ‘flexible working’ means a working arrangement where there is some flexibility on how long, where, when and at what times employees work.

How to implement flexible working

Successful implementation of flexible working requires consideration of your culture, gaining buy-in and being creative about how to offer flexibility.

Measuring and evaluating the impact of flexible working

Measuring and evaluating the impact of flexible working must be considered right from the start when implementing flexible working initiatives. These should be linked to the reasons for implementing flexible working.

Responding to flexible working requests

It's vital to follow a fair and consistent process when responding to flexible working requests, in line with any relevant legislation.


More on this topic

CIPD Good Work Index: North of England

A North of England summary of the CIPD Good Work Index 2024 survey report

CIPD Good Work Index

The CIPD Good Work Index provides an annual snapshot of job quality in the UK, giving insight to drive improvement to working lives

Latest guides

People manager guide: Supporting employee resilience

Practical guidance on helping employees adapt and thrive when faced with workplace stress

For Members
Resilience: Guide for people professionals to support employees

Advice and tips on how HR professionals can support organisational and individual resilience

For Members
Internships that work: Guide for employers

Guidance for employers on starting or improving an internship programme, including a checklist and model agreement

For Members
Carer-friendly workplaces: Guide for people professionals

Practical guidance to help employers create a carer-friendly workplace

All guides