Flexible working is good for business, study claims

flexible working clocksThe overwhelming majority of Scottish business leaders who already offer staff some form of flexible working say it has had a positive impact on their business. The research, conducted by YouGov for Family Friendly Working Scotland, claims employers surveyed reported benefits to the business including increased productivity among workers (37 percent) and better staff retention (40 percent). Almost a third (30 percent) reported fewer staff were off sick, while other benefits included increased profit (17 percent) and better employee mental health and wellbeing (40 percent).

The survey of 257 Scottish business leaders found that among the 200 who offer flexible work options, 87 percent said it has had a positive impact on their business, while half (50 percent) said it has had a “very positive” impact on the business overall. More than half (53 percent) said working from home is the most common option, while others are time away for personal appointments (48 percent) and informal or ad-hoc adjustments such as leaving early and working from home (41 percent).

Organisations are legally required to consider requests for flexible working from employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Scottish business leaders surveyed reported good working practices around flexible working, with 43 percent saying their business has a very flexible working culture and flexible working is accepted as the norm.

Nikki Slowey, co-director at Family Friendly Working Scotland, which is part of the UK work-life balance charity Working Families, said: “Flexible working is good for business. The fact we’re hearing this from business leaders themselves proves flexibility is not a favour to employees in special circumstances, it genuinely makes good business sense.

“There’s still a huge unmet demand for flexible working and the desire for flexibility is universal across gender, age, and whether or not someone is a parent. We hope employers and workers are encouraged by these figures and use National Work Life Week to explore how they can incorporate more flexibility to improve work-life balance and boost the business.”