SMBs embrace parents' flexible working needs

A new study says that SMBs and parents are working together well on flexible working, but future government plans may be a problem.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are meeting the needs of working parents with flexible working practices, according to research commissioned by Citrix Online.

Nearly three quarters of SMBs believed that they had introduced flexible working options, and approximately half believed that the government's plan to extend flexible working hours for parents of older children was a good idea.

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"It is very encouraging to note a consensus between UK businesses and parents around flexible working," commented Bernardo De Albergaria, vice president and general manager for global marketing and ecommerce at Citrix Online.

He said that UK SMBs were actively exploring ways to enhance employee satisfaction and retention by allowing workers to work over the web.

He added: "This way, companies can minimise disruption to their business while allowing parents the flexibility to achieve a rewarding home life as well as momentum in their career."

However, the research showed that SMBs were concerned about government plans to extend parental leave, as 58 per cent said that extending maternity leave would have a negative effect on business, with 48 per cent for paternity.

SMBs highlighted employee satisfaction, staff retention, and providing a work-life balance for working parents as the key business benefits about introducing flexible working. Only 13 per cent thought that work quality would suffer, with less than a third worrying about additional costs.

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The survey involved middle managers from 298 SMBs, as well as 1,800 working parents

Working away from the office was the top benefit for mums, which ranked above having a pension, bonuses, and having health insurance.

Almost all dads (87 per cent) said that avoiding traffic or commuting was the best thing about flexible working.

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