Business-led group launched to promote flexible working
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable have backed the creation of an employers’ group to focus on workplace flexibility.
The independent employer-led group, established by Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, will consider how workplace flexibility could stimulate growth and help UK businesses meet the economic, social and environmental challenges they face, as well as sharing best practice.
Seventeen leading businesses have committed their involvement. The companies represent a broad range of sectors and include small, medium and large employers. Between them they employ half a million employees.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Flexibility is the key to business growth. In Britain today, companies who embrace working practices that engage employees with other commitments in their lives will succeed. Engaging with employees on their work life balance is vital for the competitiveness of businesses and for the competitiveness of Britain.
"Businesses are the best placed to make this case and I'm delighted that Sir Win Bischoff is going to lead a group that will make the case for flexible working. When a group of this calibre, representing diverse sectors, talks then people will listen."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The days of fixed working patterns are rapidly changing. As we adapt to the 21st century workplace, extending flexible working and introducing flexible parental leave are the next key steps and the benefits of both policies are undeniable. For employees they will be able to better balance their work and social lives while for employers they will get access to a wider talent pool, see improved employee productivity and morale and they will ultimately be better placed to retain staff."
Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Win Bischoff, said: "Workplace flexibility is more than a set of policies designed to support colleagues’ work-life balance. It is a key business tool that enables us to meet the evolving needs of our customers as well as our colleagues.
"The employers involved in this group have been implementing workplace flexibility for some time. We believe that flexibility has helped us to respond to the unprecedented economic, technological and social challenges that are currently facing all UK businesses and that the lessons we have learned may be of use to other businesses. We must continue to develop new ways of working if we are to drive business growth in an ever-changing environment. Businesses that recognise this will be those that secure future success."
Vince Cable added that he knew proposals such as extending the right to request flexible working to all employees and the introduction of flexible parental leave faced a rough ride from some quarters. He said the only response was for businesses to show there was a strong business case for it.