Informa Markets

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July 24, 2008

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Flexible working- Flexibility is everyone’s friend

Support for flexible working practices among UK businesses is overwhelming, according to the publishers of a new report on the issue.

For Flexible working — the new world of work the Institute of Directors and income protection insurance provider Unum surveyed 500 business leaders, 86 per cent of whom said their organisation operates flexible working practices, and 93 per cent said they would do so even if there were no legislative obligation.

The IoD says one in two of its members have reported a noticeable impact on the bottom line from flexible working, and all the measured impacts were positive — including on productivity, profitability, customer service, recruitment and retention, absenteeism and morale.

The main barriers to flexible working cited by respondents to the survey were operational, or line-management issues, together with a fear of fragmentation.

Commenting on the findings, IoD director-general, Miles Templeman, said: “In terms of both time and location, flexible working practices are almost certain to expand considerably over the coming years. What business doesn’t need is the heavy hand of government, when, as this survey shows, the business case is far more compelling and persuasive than regulation. The world of work will be revolutionised, and maybe sooner than we think.”

Susan Ring, CEO of Unum, added: “There are cost implications [of flexible working], but the payback is definitely worthwhile. Overall, we have improved staff loyalty, higher productivity, and flexible working has enhanced our reputation with customers too.”

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