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Study by Protime and SD Worx: flexible working is available to over three-quarters of UK employees

The UK is leading the way in Europe when it comes to flexible working

London, 26th September 2019. Flexible working is a well-established practice in the UK. No less than 83% of companies allow their personnel or certain groups of employees, one or more types of flexible working. These were the conclusions offered in a joint study conducted by Protime, a specialist in time registration and personnel planning, and HR service provider SD Worx.

Of all the countries surveyed, the United Kingdom is the number one for flexible working. 59% of all UK companies let employees choose where and/or when to work, be it from home, in a flexible workspace or at the office. 24% allow this for certain employees and having the option to work flexibly is usually based on an employee’s job type (50%).  In total, 83% of British companies provide their personnel or certain groups of employees with one or more flexible working options. In France and Belgium, the percentage of companies is 78% and 76%, respectively. 

    Flextime most prevalent

    Flextime, which allows employees to determine their own working time, is the most common form of flexible working in the UK (65%), followed by teleworking (37%), which may mean working from home or a co-working space. When considering all the countries surveyed, flextime is the most popular in Germany, with as many as 80% of companies offering this to their employees. In the Netherlands, only 36% of companies offer flextime. However, co-working / working from flexible workspaces is permitted much more often in the Netherlands (46%) than in the United Kingdom (34%), Belgium (29%), Germany (25%) and France (23%).

    Peter s'Jongers, CEO of Protime: "Being physically present in the office from nine to five continues to be overvalued in many cases. In today's society, in which work and private life are becoming increasingly intertwined, employees are asking for more flexibility to determine their own working locations and hours. Online time and attendance registration are already helping European companies make home working and teleworking available to their employees. In the war for talent, these (online) registration tools have an important role to play."

    Jean-Luc Barbier, VP SD Worx Global Solutions:  “The role of technology has meant that flexible working has become available in ways that were previously impossible and as technology develops, it’s likely to increase even further.  This is likely to have a positive impact on the workforce as more employees favour the autonomy and freedom available to them through flexible working options. Giving employees more control over where and how they work doesn’t just help with employee experience but can also increase productivity which is why it’s so promising to see so many countries across Europe adopting this way of thinking."


      The online survey was answered by 502 senior professionals across Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. The sample is representative of the specific local labour markets, with the same composition as to statute (blue-collar) workers, office workers and civil servants, gender, region, work regime, language, educational degree and organisation size as that of the active labour population in the countries concerned. 

        About Protime

        Protime was founded in 1995 and is the market leader in workforce management (WFM) and collaborative solutions. An ongoing focus on innovation enables Protime to provide solutions in workforce management to a wide and varied range of clients and markets. Today Protime has over 5,000 installations across Europe. Protime has been voted a "Great Place to Work" for seven consecutive years and has won the title of "Best Managed Company" twice in a row. Protime currently employs more than 280 members of staff at its offices in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Protime is part of the SD Worx Group.

          About SD Worx

          As a leading European provider of payroll and HR solutions, SD Worx guides organisations in managing their existing and their new workforce, with a full-service package in the areas of Staffing, Payroll, Time and Talent. SD Worx delivers the best suited approach for every situation, providing insights, expertise, outsourcing services and technology HR- decision makers need for their organisation and their individuals to thrive. Today, more than 68,000 small and large organisations across the globe place their trust in SD Worx and its nearly 75 years' worth of experience. In 2018, SD Worx achieved a consolidated turnover of EUR 594.4 million with its two entities.

          SD Worx Group offers its payroll and HR outsourcing services, software and consultancy services in 92 countries and calculates the salaries of approximately 4.6 million employees, which puts it in the top five payroll companies worldwide. SD Worx has more than 4,150 employees working in ten countries: Belgium (headquarters), Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. It is the co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies that together handle 32 million payroll calculations.