Female workers are more attracted to jobs with flexible working practices but men are enjoying most of them

Women want to be inspired to break away from traditional workplace expectations and seek more innovative ways of working, according to a new study.

Research into flexible working practices in Britain by telecommunications company O2 has found distinct differences between how the sexes like to work and what motivates them.

It says women are more likely to want to be inspired by their working environment and by good leadership than the prospects of enjoying healthcare and pensions benefits, which are more important job factors in the opinions of male employees.

Women are also more likely to be more receptive to modern ways of working in their careers, with 56% wishing that their employers would clarify that flexible practices will not have a negative impact on their career and 52% wanting to be trusted to work from home or away from the office. Less than half of their male counterparts feel the same way on these matters.

Despite their interest, most of the flexi-work that is being allowed and encouraged by UK companies is currently being done by men, as the research suggests 30% and 20% more male employees than women are working outside of normal nine to five hours and from home or away from work respectively.

However, both sexes rate flexible working practices in the top three methods they would like to adopt to improve their wellbeing and job satisfaction and companies should take note of the findings and how staff organising their own working day can benefit their organisations.

O2 business director Ben Dowd said working in the digital age gives businesses plenty of opportunities to promote diversity in the workplace and meet the differing needs of their staff, such as flexible working practices and developing an inspirational place of work to make them more productive.

Mr Dowd said the top employers must act to foster a flexible working culture and make sure all members of their workforces can create their own way of working and get away from the nine-to-five grind.

Copyright Press Association 2013