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Over Half of British Workers Denied Flexible Working

Does your business offer flexible working? It’s been one year since legislation was introduced to allow employees to request flexible working. However, research conducted by Microsoft reveals that over half of British workers are still required to work within the confines of the office during designated hours.

Take up of flexible working has been very slow, with many employers simply refusing to move with the times – 44% of workers said they are not allowed to work remotely under any circumstances.

This is despite the evidence that flexible working is having a positive impact on workers and businesses who have decided to allow it. More than 80% of flexible workers in small and medium sized businesses said it has made a positive difference to their working life, with 35% saying it makes them more motivated. The majority of people said they enjoy an easier to manage work life balance.

Experts have said that British employers resisting the flexible working revolution are stifling creativity and hindering productivity in the workplace. Flexible working and remote working also offer an opportunity to boost staff morale and wellbeing, which should never be overlooked in the company culture.

One business leader who is happy to make the argument for flexible working is Virgin business mogul, Richard Branson. He believes by empowering employees with choice, workers can determine where is best to carry out their jobs, resulting in happier and more productive staff.

The Virgin Group Founder said, “Virgin has never done business as usual, because we believe that the tried and tested route is not always the best path to success. Choice empowers people to make great decisions. Flexible working gives our staff choice.”

Richard Branson added, “Through initiatives like working from home, unlimited leave, integrated technology, and wellbeing in the workplace – we treat our employees like the capable adults they are. If standard work hours no longer apply, then why should we follow standard working conventions?  Flexible working encourages our staff to find a better balance between their work and private lives, and through this balance they become happier and more productive.”

Technology is key to those companies who are planning on trialling remote, flexible working for its employees. Depending on the nature of the job, most staff members will need to be in communication with team members and/or clients, and managers will also be challenged with a remote workforce to coordinate. However, by using reliable remote workforce management tools, there is no reason why any business shouldn’t be able to channel the benefits of flexible working.