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Why is flexible working on the rise?

21st September 2017

Article written by:

Chris from iContract

Flexible working. It’s a term that’s gained momentum these past few years with more working individuals seeing it as a key factor that affects their employment decisions. And on the other side of the coin, employers have seen flexible working as something they’ve had to become flexible with in order to win and retain top talent.

So what can be attributed to its growing popularity and adoptment?

Freedom to travel

The world today is one full of curious people with a flavour for adventure and discovery. Twenty years ago however, it was regarded as status quo to take on a traditional 9 to 5 role and limit yourself to an annual summer holiday, typical destinations usually being European ones. Now people want to go further and more frequently. Rather than being confined to the standard 25 day holiday package, people want to break free from this and explore more of the world, and they have achieved this through flexible work paths like contracting.

From a survey of 3,100 people, one of the biggest reasons people wanted flexible work options was travel. Being self-employed as a contractor gives you more freedom, both financially and in your day to day life. With you able to make your own decisions, you can be your own boss and enjoy as much as holiday as you require. You could be working as a contractor for a three month project and then taking as long as a month out travelling across the Far East.

People’s appetitie for travel is not diminishing and are seeing flexible work as a means to fuel this hunger.

Wellbeing and Health

At some point in your professional career, you may have experienced some form of burnout or found yourself ill through work. You may have also found yourself ostracised from your family and loved ones because of work commitments.

Both employer and employee have seen the value and importance of a happy and healthy work force and, to maintain morale, improve productivity, and just make things generally more pleasant in their working day lives – flexible working has been seen as an effective solution.

In a recent study of a Fortune 500 company, the benefits and effectiveness of workplace flexibility were trialled on a large sector of its employees with one group participating in a pilot programme which encouraged flexible working and the other not adopting these ideas. The former reported having more control over their schedules, more time spent with their families and greater job satisfaction and less burnout and stress.

It’s the future, and anything is possible

One statistic that has gained popularity amongst employment commentators has been that by 2020, 50% of the UK’s working population will be self-employed. Technology has been the tool that has helped advance this trend. Thanks to technology, work can be done anywhere in the world and has removed the physical borders that used to come with work. In a recent survey, 63% of workers believe the standard 8 hour day will soon be obsolete, and among those who had traditional jobs, over half believed they would be working freelance within 5 years. 


Enjoy the flexibility that working as a contractor can bring and find your next contract with iContract, the new online platform connecting contractors with recruiters and hiring managers. Register your contractor profile for free here.