There is no reason for flexible working be a burden to businesses, as the Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce and the EEF manufacturers’ group seem to believe.
The legislation was introduced in 2003 to aid families with young children and because of a belief in the business benefits of a flexible workforce, which is more efficient and more positive about its work.
Already, research has shown that 90 per cent of companies have adopted some sort of mobile or flexible working. But businesses are not, at present, implementing flexible working policies in a strategic capacity, which could improve business processes and alter the way the UK’s workforce really operates.
A broader outlook is required. Rather than seeing it as a burden, employer groups should promote the advantages of the more mobile, agile workforce that flexible working practices can bring.
Businesses are right to approach change with caution, but technology is available to enable those working away from their desks to be as efficient as those based solely in the office. In many businesses there is no reason to restrict this option only to staff who have young children.
Area vice-president UK/Ire/SA