Senior managers ‘can work flexibly’

Senior managers can work flexibly and manage people while working reduced hours, says a report. Plus other news.

Employers need to do more to help senior managers work flexibly, according to a new report.
The Hours to Suit part 2 report is launched this week by Working Families and outlines 19 new case studies showing senior managers working flexible hours. It finds that job sharing is a particularly good way of incorporating flexibility into senior roles – it says some senior jobs are so demanding that it is better to have two people doing them instead of one. The report also finds that managing other people is possible if you work part-time, compressed hours, work from home or job share. And it says there is a good business case to be made for allowing senior managers to work flexibly.
Meanwhile, the Association of Women Solicitors has criticised the lack of flexibility shown in the legal profession.

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Number of women on boards of FTSE 100 rises
The number of women who are non-executive board members of Britain’s top companies has risen to its highest level for nine years, according to research.

However, the number of executive directors is at its lowest ebb for the same period.
The report by researchers at Cranfield University found a growing gulf between the 24 companies which are entirely male-led and a newly growing group of 35 companies which have many female directors. It said women now make up 11 percent of the board membership of the FTSE top 100 companies and constitute 20 percent of new director appointments to boards.
Moreover, 122 women now sit on the FTSE 100 executive committees, many covering a diverse range of posts from secretaries to human resources managers. The figures represent a rise of 40 percent since 2006. The report says this indicates that “the pipeline to the corporate board has finally been opened” to women.
Supermarket company Sainsbury is the FTSE company with the highest number of female non executive directors. Three of its non executive directors – 30 percent of the total – are women.

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Flexible work ‘is the future’
 
Flexible working is the future for Britain’s workers, according to a new survey.
The poll by The Work Foundation and Microsoft says 78% of workers believe flexible working will become the norm in the next few decades.
Only one tenth of workers found the office a creative place in which to work with many labelling it “uninspiring”.
More than half of employees would be happier if they worked outside the office at least some of the time. Sixteen per cent said they would leave their jobs in six months’ time if their employer did not offer some element of flexible working.
Microsoft has named those who prefer mobile working Moofers (Mobile out of office).
“Giving office-based workers more control over when, where and how they produce good work means being ultra flexible not begrudgingly flexible,” says Nick Isles, director of advocacy at The Work Foundation.
"This is not to say that time spent in the office is unimportant. It is. But that should be only some of the time, not all of the time, if organisations want the best from their workforce," he added.
A poll by remote services firm Citrix Online has found nearly a quarter of Americans regularly work out of the office, either at home or at another location. Of those who didn’t work out of the office, nearly two thirds would like to. Flexible working was one of the key extra benefits employees looked for when deciding whether to take a job, with those in their late 20s and early 30s most in favour.

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Flexible work ‘reduces stress’
 
Flexible working can reduce stress as well as improve productivity, according to the International Stress Management Association.
It says that many people work better at certain times in the day and flexible working offers people the chance to work at their peak time.

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Maternal deaths creep up
 
The number of women dying in childbirth in the UK has risen to its highest level in 20 years, a report has found.
The report, Saving Mothers’ Lives from the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, says the number of women dying in childbirth is up to 14 in every 100,000 women, an increase of over 50 percent since the mid-1980s.
It highlights poor maternity care for women as a concern, alongside the increasing number of older, immigrant and obese mothers.
It says there is “inappropriate delegation” of tasks to junior staff on maternity wards and found poor skills in areas like resuscitation contributed to several deaths.
The Healthcare Commission is to undertake a national investigation into maternity care. The Government said maternal deaths remain rare in the UK.

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Most firms say they offer flexible work
 
Almost all firms claim to offer flexible working, according to Government research.
The Department for Business and Enterprise says 95 percent of employers offer some form of flexible working to staff, such as job shares and part-time work. Some 90 percent of employers said they would consider requests from employees to change work patterns and seven percent would make special attempts to help parents of young and disabled children.
Critics say that most of the flexibility offered is minimal and confined mainly to a small minority of people. The TUC wants to see flexible working extended to all workers.

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Long hours culture returns

More than one in eight people now work more than 48 hours a week, according to the latest Labour Force Survey.

The figures represent a rise in working hours after a decade in which they have fallen. One in six people in London work over 48 hours a week. The TUC blames a “hard core” of bad employers and says the figures are “disturbing”. It says the European working time directive, under which employees do not legally have to work over 48 hours a week, is not being properly enforced.

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