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Work Life Week- The end of 9 to 5

Scottish workers want flexible alternatives to traditional work day

Scottish workers have signalled the end of the traditional 9am to 5pm office day by stating they want flexibility over when and where they work.

Family Friendly Working Scotland surveyed more than 1,000 Scottish adults and found two thirds (66%) of those in work want at least some control over their hours, such as being able to amend their start or finish time. Just under two thirds (65%) of employees want at least some form of flexibility over where they work, and don’t want to be in the office all the time (1).

The Scottish population is almost unanimous (95%) in its belief that work life balance is at least as important as salary. This includes nearly a third (32%) of the population who feel it is more important.

Family Friendly Working Scotland has released the findings to mark the beginning of National Work Life Week and send a clear message to employers about the way people want to work now.

The new findings build on the case for more flexible working opportunities in Scotland. There is already robust evidence of the business benefits of flexible working because it increases motivation, productivity and commitment (2).

Nikki Slowey, Joint Programme Director for Family Friendly Working Scotland, said: “We’ve held on to the tradition of work meaning 9am to 5pm in the office for long enough. The majority of Scottish workers want at least some flexibility over when and where they work and this isn’t compatible with the rigid model we’ve clung to for more than a century.

“Dolly Parton may have made ‘9 to 5’ an institution with her iconic song from the Eighties. But nearly 40 years on – and with even more evidence to prove flexible working is good for business as well as making people happier - surely we can let go of our expectation that jobs must be office-based 9am to 5pm and make flexibility the norm.

“We hope employers and workers use National Work Life Week to explore how they can improve work life balance and reap the benefits.”

The figures show some Scottish workers already work flexibly. But the numbers prove that current supply of flexible jobs falls far short of demand for them.

Working Hours

  • A third (33%) of Scottish workers currently have at least some flexibility over their hours.
  • Nearly half (46%) must work set hours.
  • By comparison, two thirds (66%) say they want at least some flexibility over their hours to work effectively while maintaining a good work life balance.

Where people work

  • Fewer than one in three (29%) Scottish employees have at least some flexibility over where they work (i.e. they don’t work in an office or official place of work all the time).
  • More than half (58%) are required in the office all the time.
  • By comparison, just under two thirds (65%) say they want at least some kind of flexibility over where they work to best suit their lifestyle.


The figures show younger workers have larger discrepancies between the way the work now and the way they want to work.


  • Millennial workers (aged 18 to 34) are more likely to work in an office all the time compared with older workers (aged 35 and over) - 66 per cent compared with 54 per cent respectively.
  • Less than a quarter (23%) of millennial workers can work away from the office at least some of the time, compared with 32 per cent of older workers.
  • The desire for flexibility over location was similar between the generations with 63 per cent of millennials saying at least some remote working would best suit their lifestyle, compared with 67 per cent of older workers.


Similarly, about two thirds of millennial workers (68%) would like at least some flexibility over their working hours so they can work effectively while maintaining a good work life balance, compared with older workers (66%).


But millennials are slightly less likely to enjoy flexibility now with just 29 per cent able to have at least some flexibility over when they work, compared with 35 per cent of older workers.

National Work Life Week is an annual campaign by Family Friendly Working Scotland and UK work life balance organisation, Working Families, to get employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and work life fit. It’s an opportunity for employers to show their employees and potential candidates, how their organisation is striving for a family friendly and flexible working culture.

Family Friendly Working Scotland is funded and supported by the Scottish Government

For more information visit or @ffworkscot on Twitter or Facebook.


Journalists requiring more information including case study stories, can contact Jenny Legg on 07725 619304 or email

Notes to editors:

  1. Unless otherwise stated, figures are from YouGov. Total sample size was 1,011 adults of which 519 were workers. Fieldwork was undertaken online between September 4 and 7, 2018. The figures are weighted and representative of all Scottish adults aged 18 and over.

2. CIPD Factsheet on flexible working:

Support from the Scottish Government:

Family Friendly Working Scotland is supported and funded by the Scottish Government.

Jamie Hepburn Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills said: “While powers over employment law are reserved to the UK Government, the Scottish Government encourages flexible working practices by funding Family Friendly Working Scotland, which is working to change workplace cultures. We recognise parents and other employees stand to gain significantly from increases in genuinely flexible quality jobs, helping them balance work and caring responsibilities.

“Forward thinking employers already understand the business case and are using flexibility as a key tool to attract and retain a diverse range of talent into their organisations. Encouraging other employers to follow will be key to going beyond the current positive labour market statistics.

“The Scottish Government has stated it will invest monies from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund to deliver new programmes with partners to encourage employers to change workplace cultures. And we will work with Timewise and our other partners to produce an update of the Flexible Jobs Index Scotland.”

Family Friendly Working Scotland aims to create and support working culture change in Scotland that builds economic success and improves the lives of families.

Family Friendly Working Scotland works with employers, government, families and others to promote a flexible and family friendly working culture. This is a way of working which delivers business success and enables working families to have a good balance between work and family life.

Spanning boundaries between private, public and third sectors, we offer practical support to employers and share best practice. We also raise awareness of the issues and benefits around flexible and family friendly working. Acting as a nucleus, Family Friendly Working Scotland promotes innovative and sustainable ways of working that are good for families and the Scottish economy.

Family Friendly Working Scotland is a collaborative partnership between Working Families, Fathers Network Scotland, Parenting Across Scotland and the Scottish Government.

As well as running National Work Life Week, Family Friendly Working Scotland runs the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families awards. The Awards recognise organisations that are leading the way in family friendly and flexible working right now in Scotland.

About Working Families

Working Families is the UK's leading work-life balance organisation. It offers a free Legal Helpline to parents and carers, researches and campaigns for better work-life policies and works directly with employers to help them improve ways of working. For more information visit or follow onTwitter @WorkingFamUK or on Facebook.

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