Nearly two thirds of SMEs now trust employees to work flexibly

One of the main arguments against flexible working amongst blue chip organisations – which was well documented following the Yahoo furore earlier this year, is that it is detrimental to fostering a collaborative working culture. Amongst small and medium sized companies, the reasons against are more straightforward, in that it demands a level of trust small business managers can ill afford to bestow unwisely. Now a new survey, carried out among over 200 UK-based SME decision-makers, highlights a growing acceptance of flexible working within these businesses. Well over half (63%) of senior executives say they trust their employees to remain productive when working away from the office, the Citrix-commissioned YouGov survey has shown.

A further 28 per cent of those polled also agreed that enabling staff to work flexibly can play an important role in improving their work-life balance, making them less likely to miss important deadlines. Overall, a quarter (25%) of executives report being under more pressure to introduce or increase mobile, flexible working practices than they were five years ago, predominantly due to employee demand (28%) and the need to reduce budget such as travel costs (17%).

While some managers were less trusting when it came to allowing employees to work outside of the office, 21 per cent still conceded that having a flexible working policy makes sense for business continuity.

“As well as meeting demand to improve individuals’ work-life balance, the growing acceptance of flexible working among senior teams shows managers are now realising the commercial advantages it offers,” says Andrew Millard, senior director marketing, EMEA, SaaS division at Citrix.

“In the BYOD era, employees using virtual technologies can work just as effectively away from the office as they would within it – in most cases contributing to lower travel and office costs for the business.”