Businesses must embrace flexible working
In just a few months, all UK workers with a child under the age of 18 will be given the right to ask their employer for flexible work arrangements. It's a government initiative that's designed to help more employees achieve a greater work/life balance.
Yet despite the benefits that flexible working offers both employees and employers, we recently discovered that just 16 per cent of SMEs in the UK currently allow staff to work flexibly or from home. I find this quite surprising, given that 42 per cent of the 5,000 businesses that we polled said that they thought flexible working could boost staff motivation and reduce employee turnover.
We found that the main reason businesses are putting off flexible working is down to fears that a mobile workforce might be less effective or that staff might feel isolated. Yet from experience, I've found that employees who are working remotely are just as productive as their colleagues in the office. And remote workers can be made to feel much less 'remote' by making sure that staff continue to communicate regularly with colleagues who are working elsewhere via instant messaging, email, phone and even through video conferencing.
Why do you think so few SMEs have adopted flexible working? Is it a lack of understanding about what's required to implement it? Or just opposition to changing the status quo? What are the main benefits that you've seen from flexible working practices?