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Flexible working ‘to become the norm’


Flexible working is set to become increasingly popular among employers, according to new findings.

A report conducted by Lancaster University’s Work Foundation revealed that by 2017, working flexibly will become more prevalent than working from the office. However in order to truly reap the benefits of this way of working, then firms should encourage staff members to work smarter rather than longer. Among the many advantages of flexible working are increased productivity, improved employee wellbeing, talent attraction and retention, and reduction in accommodation costs.By 2020, flexible working will be the main way of operating for the majority (70 per cent) of organisations. The figures showed that 44 per cent of those polled said that it allowed them to get more work done, 42 per cent said it made them feel more trusted and 35 per cent said it was essential for their work life balance.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Cathy Garner, director of the Work Foundation and author of the report, said: “The evidence is showing a clear trend towards a more flexible way of working in the UK as the hurdles are overcome by fresh innovations in technology and people management. “By enabling a culture whereby working anywhere is the rule – rather than the exception – employers immediately put trust at the heart of their company ethos – a key to providing a happier and more fulfilling relationship with its staff.”

However many companies still had reservations about flexible working. Indeed, more than a third of managers believed mobile working would result in longer hours and becoming disconnected from their team. An additional 28 per cent felt it could block them from overseeing others’ work, 4 percent said all work in their organisation is carried out on company premises, suggesting a cultural barrier to working ‘on-the-go’. However the key to the success of mobile working lies in implementation. For example, organisations that are able to monitor and track the progress of their staff members and productivity via Cloud solutions and HR Software, which can be used remotely, are more likely to reap the benefits of flexible working and adapt to changing workplace practices.

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