Organisations should introduce flexible working to help retain staff and cut costs, delegates at a Communications Management Association (CMA) conference heard this week.
Kieron Gavan, British Airways director of workstyle change, said BA introduced flexible working two years ago.
"We found we needed a solid commercial business case, support from the board, and a tight implementation team. But the challenge was more about people and logistics rather than technical problems."
The move towards flexible working came after the company overhauled its corporate networks and IT infrastructure from 1998. Flexible working allowed BA to save 20% on its property costs and meant it could spend more in areas such as marketing, he said.
John Blackwell, chief executive of management consultants JB Associates and a CMA member agreed, and said flexible working was an answer to the increasing competition for staff and rising office costs.
He challenged the idea that staff could not be trusted to work flexibly, whether at home, at different office locations, or over different hours. "An untrustworthy employee is untrustworthy, whether you can see them or not," he said.