Three quarters of businesses 'now support flexible working'

Many managers in the UK now regard flexible working as a standard practice and will offer the option to their staff, according to a new report.

Of the 1,000 managers questioned in a poll, about 75% said their company supported flexible working, citing the business benefits and the fact that men are just as likely as women to take advantage of being able to work at a variety of times.

However, the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), which carried out the research, also reported that one in five of those who were polled said that working flexibly would affect their career negatively in some way.

A third of the respondents said they had heard colleagues make derogatory comments about those who were not in the office all day and all of the week.

Charles Elvin, the chief executive of the ILM, said work has changed from a place you simply turn up to, to something you can do anywhere and at any time.

He said: "More and more employers are recognising that a flexible approach to how, where and when their employees work offers real business benefits."

The expert added: "Negative attitudes towards flexible workers are often prompted by a sense of unfairness and poor communication from senior management on policy."

A Department for Business spokesperson said of the findings: "Flexible working is good for business - it can boost motivation and productivity of staff and ultimately help support growth of our economy.

"Giving employees the chance to plan their working patterns leads to a more engaged workforce and reduces turnover of staff.

"This is why the Government is extending the right to request it to all employees. We want to remove the cultural assumption that flexible working only benefits parents and carers, allowing everyone to better balance work with their personal life."

Copyright Press Association 2013