FLEXIBLE working is now a reality for all employees, every worker has the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers, as it was previously.

Employees will be allowed to make a 'statutory application' for flexible working after 26 weeks of continuous employment and employers will be required by law to deal with all requests in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Flexibility could involve compressed hours, where individuals do five days' work in four, staggered hours to avoid the stresses of rush hour, or working from home or part-time working, job sharing, mobile working, working/teleworking, phased retirement, home working, sabbatical/career break and term-time working.

According to analysis of data from the Labour Force Survey compiled by the Office for National Statistics it’s estimated that around 7.4 million people aged 16-plus - out of a workforce of more than 30 million - currently enjoy flexible working arrangements.

And a survey by Jobsite, the online career portal, has found that two thirds of the workforce would request flexible working if they were given the opportunity.

Remarkably, it also revealed that 53 per cent of British businesses are still unaware of the changes, while of those that are aware, 25 per cent admit they haven't thought about the impact it could have.

A British Chambers of Commerce survey found that 70 per cent of businesses reported an improvement in employee relations when they used flexible working hours.

Don’t stay stuck in a 1950s mindset – working is no longer about long hours and 'presenteeism' culture, it's about achieving what you're supposed to do in your job and doing that in the most effective way.