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Many business leaders 'have not considered flexible working'

Many business leaders 'have not considered flexible working'

In excess of one-third of all business leaders in the UK have admitted their company has not even considered implementing a flexible working strategy.

That is according to new research published yesterday (March 11th) by Vodafone, which has established that even though many bosses recognise that flexibility can benefit their organisation, the practice is still not being universally taken up.

For instance, this survey - which involved questioning 500 decision makers from companies across the country - found that 63 per cent agreed that employees no longer need to work the traditional nine-to-five shift, with 62 per cent admitting that fluidity in working patterns leads to a happier workforce.

However, more than one-fifth of all companies (22 per cent) still have no flexible policies in place, with 23 per cent indicating this is due to a mistrust of their system as they feel their employees may slack off if they were permitted to operate flexibly.

In addition, 20 per cent of the bosses questioned said they thought their employees were still rooted to the traditional idea and principle that they should all have their own desk when, in fact, many professionals would much prefer the opportunity to work flexibly.

Nevertheless, Vodafone's findings could lead to managers reconsidering their views on flexible working, as the study estimated that companies could make collective cost savings of around £34 billion annually by getting rid of unnecessary workspaces and allowing people to operate from home.

The majority of leaders (65 per cent) are of the belief that their organisation cannot afford to lose any of its desks, but a YouGov poll of bosses who think they can found that, on average, firms could cut 46 workspaces from their offices.

Jeroen Hoencamp, enterprise director at Vodafone UK, said the potential saving of £34 billion is a "staggering" figure and urged decision makers to "think about different ways of working".

"New ways of working will also bring other benefits such as improved productivity, increased efficiency and a happier workforce," he added.

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Posted by Francesca Witney