Flexible working methods are widely available through technology, but businesses in the UK are failing to utilise them in favour of old fashioned nine to five in the office.
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The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) claims that UK businesses are missing out on the benefits of flexible working as they lag behind their European counterparts.
According to its latest report into flexible working, only 20% of UK employers offer tele-working, compared to about 40% in Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
Mobile technology, along with commoditised IT products have made out-of-office working both affordable and effective, but UK employers have not taken on the mantra.
Jenny Watson, Chair of the EOC said, flexible working options, such as tele-working have been shown to increase productivity, improve staff engagement, and are better placed to deal with customer needs. “But the reality for the majority of British workers is still presenteeism and long hours. The time has now come for this [flexible working] to spread across the workforce to reach the UK's 29 million workers.”
Phil Flaxton, chief executive at Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit initiative that encourages “smarter working practices” to the benefit of business and employees, said: “UK management needs to stop making excuses and modernise. Smarter working practices are not only infinitely better for the workforce, they actually improve productivity. BT, a major employer in the UK, has reported productivity improvements of 20% where it has introduced smarter working practices.”
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