Companies reaping the benefits of flexible working – survey

Four fifths of companies in the UK are now offering their staff flexible working, according to new research.

Four fifths of companies in the UK are now offering their staff flexible working, according to new research.
A survey of 4,000 UK companies commissioned by workplace provider Regus found, however, that trust remains a major hurdle for many companies: 38% of UK businesses only offer flexible working to senior staff.

The research shows companies embracing flexible working practices reaped major benefits: 40% report improved staff productivity, 67% say staff achieve a better work-life balance, and 55% of firms acknowledge that flexible working costs less than conventional, fixed office working. A quarter of firms state that flexi-working is pivotal in achieving business scalability as the UK emerges from recession.

A quarter of respondents pointed to the recruitment benefits of mobile or home working, claiming flexibility in location helps them access a wider talent pool and attract staff based in remote areas. Regus says rising oil prices are likely to further focus attention on remote working in the coming months, as UK employers face pressure to help commuters reduce their monthly transport costs.

Celia Donne, Regional Director at Regus, says: “That flexible work has become the norm is good news all round: from employer to employee, from families to wider society and the environment. For the first time, our global report based on 17,000 respondents – including 4,000 in the UK – provides conclusive statistical evidence on the availability of flexible working and the significant benefits.

“However, by basing the right to flexibility on seniority, some firms are missing huge opportunities and may even alienate new talent that they may have gone to a great effort to attract. With the Government announcing that a taskforce of business leaders and organisations will be appointed to champion the case for flexible working in the private sector, it is disappointing to still see some companies letting trust issues hold them back from flexi-working for all employees. It is encouraging, though, that a good proportion of firms see the advantages, even if they are not doing it at the moment, we can expect further growth in flexible working over the decade.”

Key findings of the report are:
– 83% of firms offer flexible working, whether related to office hours or location
– 38% only offer flexible working as a privilege to senior staff
– Proportion of firms reporting that flexible working…
…costs less than fixed office working – 55%
…improves employee productivity – 40%
…enables a better work-life balance – 67%
…is more family-friendly – 81%
…makes staff more motivated – 36%
…helps attracts a wider talent pool – 21%
…in terms of location (remote working) enables them to employ valuable people that live in more remote parts of their country – 24%
…is pivotal in achieving business scalability as we emerge from recession – 22%
…encourages staff to be more self-sufficient and pro-active in their work – 37%

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