Flexible hours appeals to the nation’s workers

Research by direct selling company Vorwerk shows that one in ten UK employees would be willing to leave their current careers if flexible working was offered elsewhere.

One in ten (11 per cent) of UK employees would be willing to leave their current careers if flexible working was offered elsewhere, research commissioned by direct selling company Vorwerk reveals.

A tenth (10 per cent) of the population would change career if it allowed them to have the freedom to work when they want to, with a significant 29 per cent of the nation stating they would like to have a better work life balance and 9 per cent admitting they would like to work less hours.

Those living in the West Midlands are the keenest to change career in favour of more flexible hours (15 per cent), followed by the South West (14 per cent) and Yorkshire (14 per cent).

In addition, men (12 per cent) are more eager to have an adjustable working structure than women (9 per cent), according to the research findings.

Employees aged between 35 and 44 want flexibility the most (14 per cent), followed by 45 to 54-year-olds (12 per cent) and 18 to 24-year-olds (10 per cent).

The majority (64 per cent) of people living in the UK have considered changing career for several factors, with 61 per cent stating that they would like to run their own business.

Top five motivations to change career


Men – 50 per cent vs. women – 49 per cent

Better work life balance

Men – 30 per cent vs. women – 29 per cent

Less pressure

Men – 18 per cent vs. women – 14 per cent

Better career progression

Men – 17 per cent vs. women – 24 per cent

Flexible hours

Men – 12 per cent vs. women – 9 per cent

The future is bright

For the fifth of us (20 per cent) that have branched out into a new area, the good news is that the other side looks good – with the most common emotions associated with changing career being excitement (42 per cent) and liberation (35 per cent).

Speaking about the findings, Thomas Henningsson, Sales Director from Vorwerk, says, ‘We are not surprised with the figures around flexible working to fit around the modern working lifestyle. We are seeing an increasing number of disgruntled employees looking for a fresh start enquiring about direct selling with us.

‘We’d encourage anyone considering dipping their toe into the self-employed water to look at options like Vorwerk. At Vorwerk you have the flexibility and earnings potential of being your own boss – but a degree of structure and lots of support to help you in your quest to become an entrepreneur.’

Claire Young, BBC One’s ‘The Apprentice’ finalist and successful entrepreneur

Vorwerk business influencer, Claire Young, is the founder of the number one speaking agency in the UK – School Speakers.

Established in 2010, School Speakers now has over 300 registered speakers working with schools, colleges and universities to provide talks, workshops and full day activities.

Claire, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had the confidence to take the plunge and set-up her own business thanks to her 2008 runner-up spot on BBC One TV show ‘The Apprentice’.

“I faced many challenges when first starting out on my own where I was walking away from very well-paid job offers and was also worried about the financial side of things and how to take a risk on my idea and make it happen,” said Claire.

“To overcome the challenges, I really questioned what was most important to me. I think for many people, starting a business isn’t necessarily about the money but the change of lifestyle. Being in charge of your own time and decisions, the chance to be creative, to be in charge and strive for a better work-life balance were all key motivators for me.”

Claire’s top tips for people wanting to run their own business

1. Don’t be afraid to fail, take action

Have the confidence to actually take the plunge and do it! An idea is worth absolutely nothing unless actioned. When I was deciding whether to start my own business, I slept on it for weeks. I woke up one morning and thought to myself ‘there isn’t an option not to do this.’ Walking into the unknown can be a little intimidating but once you’ve made the decision, it’s head down working and full steam ahead.

2. Do your research

Before you spend any money, research your idea. Know the market inside out. Know your competition and, most of all, know your customer! Listen to what they to say – their feedback can be invaluable.

3. Know your numbers and have a business plan

You need a structure and some goals to work around and aim for. Keep an eye on your cash flow and have written agreements for all business.

4. Be persistent

Lord Sugar nicknamed me a Rottweiler for my tenacity and I think it’s probably one of most important traits of successful entrepreneurs. Listen to others, but most importantly have faith in yourself and your ability. If you really believe in your business, you will make it happen. Not every day is a breeze, it’s a huge learning curve and you need to have the ability to draw a line under a bad day and start afresh again. A positive attitude is everything!

5. Speak to others

It can be quite isolating working alone at times so proactively seek out networking groups and build likeminded contacts. Never underestimate the power of contacts old and new, and spend as much time listening as you can, and be relentlessly curious. Get a mentor and bounce ideas off them.

6. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Try to start a business at the same time as working (yes, that means seven days a week of hard graft) but it means that you have guaranteed income coming in.

7. Be realistic

Rome wasn’t built in a day. You are not going to start a business and become a millionaire overnight. You will have never worked so hard in your life. Work hard, then harder – you will work twice as hard and for longer hours but put the effort in as it’s for your own reward. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be entrepreneurs and they’re not. Have a safety net of finance behind you so that you don’t need to withdraw a salary from the company until it’s in a position to afford you.

8. Follow your passion

You are not going to be successful in something which you have very little interest in. In the early days you will be working long hours so you need to find something which interests and engages you.

9. Be organised

Have a structure to your working day. Find a set office space, arrange your working hours, and don’t get distracted. Set some boundaries, especially if you are working from home. Time is one of your most valuable commodities.

Further reading on flexible hours

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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Flexible Working