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SMEs Move to Flexi-Working

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According to new research, 28% more SMEs are practising flexi-working compared to this time last year.

But while flexi-working is on the increase in the SME community, the annual research, by business communications provider Inter-Tel Europe, highlights that SMEs are only making small concessions to accommodate flexi-working and may be making unsubstantiated claims.

Some 90% of the 400 HR managers questioned said that less than 10% of their staff worked from home at least once a week, and only 1% of managers could say that over half of the company regularly practiced flexi-working.

For those that had adopted flexi-working, 19% said that it had been demanded by staff, although just 2% have made it an integral part of their HR policy as a result.

Getting in the way of going flexi was the inability to monitor remote staff (18%), and a belief that flexi practices went against the business culture or business model (33%). However HR managers also felt that if they adopted flexi-working staff would be more productive (33%), more motivated (53%) and less stressed (92%), and that flexi practices would make it easier to recruit staff (48%).

Chris Harris, managing director of Inter-Tel Europe, said that it wouldn't be long before the UK workforce starts to use flexi-working as a criteria to select prospective employers, in search of ways to strike a better work life balance.

"Any business that ignores this and the growing awareness of flexi friendly legislation does so at its peril," Harrid said. "SMEs in particular, will have to take flexi-working to new heights if they are to attract and retain the best skills available."

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