Productivity will be damaged by flexible working

Chief financial officers (CFOs) say they like the concept of flexible
working, but fear that adopting it could lead to a loss of organisational
control.

In a survey of more than 85 CFOs from UK and European multinational
companies, a quarter were concerned that flexible working would damage
productivity. It also found widespread scepticism towards legal entitlement to
flexi-working.

Chris Beer, managing director of professional services firm Resources
Connection, which ran the study, thinks the fear of losing control stated by 73
per cent of the respondents – who are often influential corporate gatekeepers
on adopting workplace innovations – stems from anxiety over gaps in covering
regular responsibilities.

They worry "that the right skills need to be available at the right
time when they’re required by the business," he said.

However, other results showed the CFOs’ willingness to consider flexible
working’s potential effects on the bottom line and pay and benefits
arrangements.

Eighty per cent believe flexi-working could help cut costs, and 64 per cent
said their company would consider restructuring compensation and benefits in
return for offering staff the right to work flexibly.

Concerns about flexi-working "can be managed if there’s a clear
guidance framework, a clear policy and a robust way of managing it", said
Beer.

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