CBI predicts ‘quiet revolution’ in flexible working

The CBI today predicted a “quiet revolution” in working practices as it signed a pledge with the TUC to encourage flexible working across the UK.

Susan Anderson, director of HR policy at the CBI, said she was confident that increasing numbers of companies would allow employees to work alternative hours and from outside the office.

The concordat, launched in London today, supports not-for-profit body Work Wise UK’s campaign for smarter working practices to be used to bring about a “workplace revolution”.

Work Wise says the benefits of smarter working include helping restore employees’ work-life balance, reducing congestion and pollution on the roads, cutting travelling times and stress, and improving productivity.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Greater flexibility that allows people to work from home occasionally could have a major impact on their lives.”

Anderson told Personnel Today: “We have made a lot of progress in working practices over the past 10 years – 90% of requests for flexible working are now granted. But we are optimistic that we can go further. I think it will be a quiet revolution.”

Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, added: “Many businesses are already reaping rewards from more flexible and smarter ways of working, achieving improved productivity and staff recruitment and retention.”

Half of the working population want to work more flexibly, according to a report published by the Equal Opportunities Commission.

‘Working outside the box’ claims that 6.5 million people in the UK could be contributing more to the economy if more flexible working was available to them.

Jenny Watson, chair of the EOC, said: “Work just isn’t working for many people any longer. Millions of people are working below their skill level in order to have a life outside the office.

“Failing to rethink the way we’ve traditionally organised work is a chronic waste of talent and investment in education, at a time when Britain needs to invest heavily in skills to maintain its competitiveness globally.”

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