Flexible working is ‘good for business’ admit Scottish business leaders

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Almost nine in 10 Scottish business leaders who offer flexible working say it has had a positive impact on their business, according to research.


The employers surveyed reported benefits to the business including increased productivity among workers (37 per cent) and better staff retention (40 per cent).

Almost nine in 10 Scottish business leaders who offer flexible working say it has had a positive impact on their business. Picture: Flickr

Almost nine in 10 Scottish business leaders who offer flexible working say it has had a positive impact on their business. Picture: Flickr

Almost a third (30 per cent) reported fewer staff were off sick, while other benefits included increased profit (17 per cent) and better employee mental health and wellbeing (40 per cent).

Meanwhile a separate survey of Scottish workers found more than half (53 per cent) work flexibly while a further fifth (19 per cent) do not but would like to do so.

The research, conducted by YouGov for Family Friendly Working Scotland, was carried out to mark the launch of National Work Life Week, which runs from October 7-11.

Nikki Slowey, co-director at Family Friendly Working Scotland, which is part of the UK work-life balance charity Working Families, said: “Flexible working is good for business.

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The fact we’re hearing this from business leaders themselves proves flexibility is not a favour to employees in special circumstances, it genuinely makes good business sense.

“There’s still a huge unmet demand for flexible working and the desire for flexibility is universal across gender, age, and whether or not someone is a parent.

“We hope employers and workers are encouraged by these figures and use National Work Life Week to explore how they can incorporate more flexibility to improve work-life balance and boost the business.”

The survey of 257 Scottish business leaders found that among the 200 who offer flexible working, 87 per cent said it has had a positive impact on their business, while half (50 per cent) said it has had a “very positive” impact on the business overall.

Work-life balance

Pursuit Marketing, which has headquarters in Glasgow and employs 180 people, introduced a four-day week on full pay in 2016.

Director Lorraine Gray said: “Our productivity – based on clearly defined monthly key performance indictors (KPIs) – increased by 37 per cent at first and has now settled at 30 per cent, even after three years.

“We don’t spend any money on recruitment now. We’ve taken on around 90 people in the last three years and it used to cost around £4,000 in agency fees to recruit a basic telemarketer, so we’ve saved a considerable sum just from recruitment.”

The survey of Scottish workers who work flexibly found they see a range of positive benefits. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) said flexible working has improved their work-life balance, and more than half (58 per cent) said they are happier.

More than half (52 per cent) said they are more productive at work and 28 per cent said they are off sick less, while 46 per cent said they are more loyal.

The survey of 1,008 adults, 524 of them Scottish workers, was carried out in September with the figures weighted to represent Scottish responses.