UK blazing a trail with flexible working

Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK is doing well in providing flexible working, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

The UK is one of Europe's leading flexible working providers, but the large majority of companies are still unable to provide it on a daily basis, according to research.

Flexible working in Europe and Russia', a report commissioned by Avaya, said that the UK was ahead of most of Europe when it came to universal provision of flexible working.

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Nearly all (93 per cent) of employees wanted flexible working in their workplaces. However, only a fifth (22 per cent) of UK businesses made provisions for all employees to work flexibly on a daily basis.

The statistics suggested that business may have trouble holding on to staff if regular flexible working was not provided. A third (31per cent) of employees would definitely quit for another job if they were granted access to flexible working, if all other conditions were equal.

As well as the UK, the research covered 3,000 workers across France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain. On average in Europe 17 per cent of companies granted flexible working to all employees, a fair margin lower than the UK.

However, the majority (78 per cent) of Europe's workforce would consider changing jobs for flexible working, and 94 per cent wanted their companies to provide it.

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Avaya said that UK and European businesses were in danger of creating a digital divide' between those who had suitable flexible working provision and those that did not.

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"The digital divide used to be constructed of those who had access to technology and those who did not," said Nick Roullier, UK Country Manager for Avaya.

"What this report shows is a new digital divide: those companies that have unlocked the ability to truly gain workforce productivity and efficiency while retaining their best workers.

"And those who are putting their businesses at risk because they don't have the technology to support what their workers are asking for."

Other findings of the report nearly half of employees thought that a company that lacked flexible working options showed out-of-date working policies. More than a third also believed that employers had the technology to provide flexible working, but chose not to use it.

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