Employers have welcomed government plans to bring in legislation requiring them to offer flexible working to all employees.
A Hays poll of more than 1000 employers and staff found that more than half (55%) of firms were in favour of the plans.
The survey showed that 70% expect an increase in requests for flexible working and nearly 40% are bracing themselves for the impact this might have on their budgets.
More employers (44%) in the private sector expect costs to increase if employees take up the offer of flexible working compared with those in the public sector (33%).
While employers offer flexible working primarily as a way of supporting their employees – just 18% report it is just to comply with existing legislation – only 29% feel offering this way of working is integral to the success of their business.
Yet, the majority (85%) of employees say they would be more likely to stay with their employer if flexible working options, such as working from home or job shares, were brought in.
Charles Logan, director at Hays said: “As pay freezes remain in place for many organisations, across both sectors, looking at how to retain your staff and keep them engaged is moving up the agenda.
“Offering simple flexible working options could make the different between keeping or losing staff at a critical time, when the best employees are needed to drive recovery.”