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March 18, 2015

Flexibility or free time: the trade-off for workers

Investec Private Banking research reveals impact of technology on working.

By Alexander Sword

The majority of UK professionals believe advances in technology force a trade-off between free time and work flexibility, according to research from Investec Private Banking.

The report found that 63 percent of professionals believed mobile technology gave them increased flexibility in the working world. The biggest support was seen in higher earners of over £70,000, with 81 percent agreeing it allowed improved flexi-time opportunities.

A discrepancy was shown between the genders, with 68 percent of men agreeing their lives had become more flexible as opposed to 57 percent of women.

54 percent of professionals felt that the increased flexibility was traded off against an intrusion into personal time, while 43 percent argued that advances in mobile technology had allowed them more free time.

Additionally, 52 percent of respondents believed technology advances would improve their future job prospects. 61 percent of those aged 25-34 expected better job opportunities, compared to 33 percent of those over 55; however, the difference could be driven by the latter category’s approaching retirement.

The research also revealed fear of technology-induced redundancy, a perennial concern of workers. Concern about redundancies was expressed particularly in hospitality, with 12 percent of respondents, and engineering, with 9 percent of respondents.

Wayne Preston, Head of Banking at Investec, comments: "We continue to see high levels of demand being placed on professionals throughout the UK. Although advancements in technology make it harder than ever to ‘switch off’, it’s encouraging to see professionals are experiencing greater flexibility and enhanced job prospects as a result."

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He added: "Life doesn’t exist solely between the hours of 9 and 5, and working in a global marketplace across multiple time zones means the pressure to be always connected is at an all-time high."

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