flexible ways of working

Executive Summary

For many organisations, the disruption of COVID-19 has rewritten the business case for flexible ways of working. It has also changed the way we view how, when, where and by whom work gets done.


This discussion paper from Champions of Change Coalition aims to help organisations better understand the benefits of flexible ways of working and how it can be effectively implemented.


The report is based on CEO insights and employee surveys taken during and after the initial lockdown period across our Coalition. These showed that ongoing employee preferences are to share their time between the home and onsite workplaces, with the majority suggesting two or three days from home, or at a secondary office location, would be ideal.

“As we prepare to return to workplaces, now is the time to shift mindsets and behaviours around when, where, how and by whom work outcomes are achieved. In this new world of work, we can make bold moves on flexibility to accelerate change towards more gender equal, safe, inclusive and high performing organisations for all. “

of Members reported in 2020 their organisations are mainstreaming flexible ways of working.
increase from 2019, were 88.0% of Members reported their organisation are mainstreaming flexible ways of working

Key insights:

  • Flexible ways of working must be available to all to realise the benefits
  • Overwhelmingly, more flexible ways of working are preferred by employees
  • There are circumstances where ongoing, office-based or onsite work is a better option
  • When more employees have access to, and are supported to use flexible ways of working, traditional gender stereotypes and barriers that have limited women’s engagement in the workplace can be challenged and/or dismantled.
  • Employees should be rotated between in-office/onsite and remote working to avoid central workplaces becoming centres of power dominated by men and/or people without caring responsibilities.


The report supports the priority of returning to the office and onsite environments (where and when it is safe to do so), while wholeheartedly seizing the momentum on flexible working. It envisages a future where working flexibly is fully embraced and essential to business strategy, where all flexible workers have access to stable and rewarding career paths.


For the past 10 years, the Champions of Change Coalition has prioritised flexible work as a strategy to help achieve gender equality in the workforce. Prior to COVID-19, 88% of Members were focused on mainstreaming flexible work. This experience, together with lessons on flexible working from the early stages of COVID-19 restrictions, present a real opportunity for leaders to make lasting change towards a more gender equal future of work.

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