Oodles of research backs it up: flexible working arrangements can benefit both your company and your staff in a number of ways, from increasing your employees’ work productivity and improving their work-life balance, to delivering benefits to your bottom line and generally making your firm a more enjoyable place to work.There really is a direct correlation between having motivated, engaged staff and seeing an improvement in the company’s bottom line. According to a survey from office space provider Regus, 70 per cent of managers report that their workforce’s productivity has increased as a result of flexible working practices and 63 per cent link increasing revenues directly to flexi-working. And it’s a growing trend. Despite the economic downturn, two-thirds of UK SMEs already offer flexible working opportunities. On top of that, a quarter of firms now invest more in flexible working now than they did five years ago. Of the firms that did not offer flexible working practices, two-fifths cited a lack of staff and 28pc said their employees had not raised it as an issue. Unsurprisingly, the most popular practices for employees include part-time working or flexible hours and working from home, research from Lloyds Commercial Banking shows. Nearly half of the firms surveyed reported improved productivity levels, in addition to improved staff morale and a better ability to meet customer demand. “This research shows SMEs are catching on to the rewards of flexible working, and that more businesses than ever are investing to offer opportunities to their employees,” says David Oldfield, MD of SME and mid-markets banking at Lloyds Banking Group.
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