Employer attitudes towards flexible working arrangements have shifted markedly during the pandemic, a new survey suggests.
The TUC said its research indicated that most managers believe flexible arrangements could work for their business.
One in five of 900 human resources managers surveyed said their business already enabled “significant” flexible working before the pandemic.
Seven out of 10 respondents said they have either already implemented significant flexible working or believe greater flexible working is suitable for their business.
The findings were published as the Government’s consultation on flexible working closes on Wednesday.
The TUC is calling for the Government to introduce a new duty on employers to include the possible flexible working options in all job adverts and giving every worker the right to work flexibly.
That means every job advert would include details of potential flexible working arrangements such as flexi-time, compressed hours, part-time hours, term-time only hours, job-shares, home or remote working, or predictable shifts, said the union organisation.
The TUC said separate research among 2,000 members of the public showed that many explained why having to wait until they are in a job to ask for flexible working is unworkable.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “During the pandemic, many people were able to work flexibly or from home for the first time. Staff and bosses both saw the benefits this flexibility can bring.
“The current system is broken. A right to ask for flexible working is no right at all, especially when bosses can turn down requests with impunity.
“Attitudes to all types of flexible working changed significantly in the pandemic. Ministers need to take advantage of this and make sure all workers can get the flexible working they need.
“Flexible working is how we keep mums in work and close the gender pay gap. It enables dads to spend more time with their kids. It helps disabled workers and carers stay in their jobs and in employment.”
Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Our research highlights a real mismatch in attitudes to hybrid working between some managers and their teams, and it seems that some managers need to wake up and smell the coffee.
“Managers need to take account of the new reality of employees wanting to work in more flexible ways. They need to support it, vocalise their support and ensure that remote workers aren’t disadvantaged, especially given the increased competition for talent employers face.”
Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “The pandemic has helped to dispel a lot of stubborn misconceptions about flexible working.
“It’s clear that flexible working is here to stay and businesses should explore what works best for them and their employees.
“However, while home and hybrid working can benefit many, it is vital that employers consider all of their workforce in offering a range of flexible working options from day-one of employment – including flexi-time, compressed hours, job sharing and term-time working, for example.
“This means that everybody can benefit from flexibility, not just those who are able to work from home.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for the future of work, said: “Flexible working works for workers, it works for employers and it works for our wider economy.
“It’s time for the Prime Minister to wake up to the benefits of flexible working and follow Labour’s lead by giving workers the right to flexible working.”