This survey of flexible work in Germany, England, Belgium and Netherlands found that 64% of English firms have implemented some kind of flexible working. This more than Germany (57%), the Netherlands (48%) and Belgium (38%).
The reasons cited for not implementing flexible working were that:
1. Companies are still looking into the possibilities of flexible working;
2. Staff are tied to a fixed place and time because of their specific duties;
3. The organisation feels that the presence of staff is necessary.
Notably, the reasons for flexible working differed by country. In Belgium and England, organisations to implemented flexible ‘to satisfy the wishes of staff’. In Germany, the most important argument for flexible working was that it leads to ‘higher staff satisfaction’. In the Netherlands, ‘cost-savings on buildings, accommodation and workstations’ was key for organisation.
A lack of family-friendly workplace policies in the USA is partly to blame for a fall in women’s labour force participation relative to other OECD countries, declining from sixth in 1990 to 17th. However, US female workers are more likely to be in full-time and higher-level managerial positions than in countries with more family-friendly policies.
Women who decide to take alternative workplace arrangements – through part-time work or career breaks – find their overall incomes and chances for promotion harmed. There is a need, then, for the stigma often associated with alternative working arrangements to be rethought, perhaps by encouraging – and amending policy to allow – fathers to take responsibility for childcare.