Flexibility breeds productivity

Over two-thirds of UK SMEs believe flexible working initiatives can enhance competitiveness, however, roughly the same number admit they need to do more to address their staff's work-life balance.


Over two-thirds of UK SMEs believe flexible working initiatives can enhance competitiveness, however, roughly the same number admit they need to do more to address their staff’s work-life balance.

Over two-thirds of UK SMEs believe flexible working initiatives can enhance competitiveness, however, roughly the same number admit they need to do more to address their staff’s work-life balance. These are the main findings of new research from employment advisory body Investors in People.

To Ruth Spellman, chief executive of Investors in People, “it’s encouraging that so many organisations recognise the benefits of flexible working, yet worrying that nearly two-thirds still haven’t done anything to address the issue.”

“Having a work-life balance ethos helps organisations to attract and retain good people, increase motivation, satisfaction and productivity and, as a result, become more competitive. It’s something all organisations, especially smaller businesses, can’t afford to ignore,” Spellman continues.

Investors in People has long called upon employers to develop more flexible working practices, claiming that in the changing social climate absenteeism and sick leave are often the only options available to workers needing time off to look after young children or sick relatives.

These claims appear to have been vindicated by research. In total 190 employers and 368 employees were questioned throughout July, in a survey which also discovered that for many workers flexible working practices are the key thing they look for in a job.

An astonishing 32% of workers named flexibility as their number one working priority. This placed it just behind salary (40%) in terms of significance.

Employers seeking tips and advice on developing more flexible working practices should visit www.investorsinpeople.co.uk.

(1/9/03)

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