Small Businesses Unsupportive of Flexible Working Legislation

Research shows that small and mid-sized businesses are concerned about the new flexible working law even though statistics predict that it will increase productivity

From June 30, employees will have the legal right to request flexible working from their employer, according to a new British employment law.

However in a recent YouGov survey, the results underlined unawareness, concern and a lack of support and preparation throughout small and mid-sized businesses in regards to the upcoming legislation.

The survey, which involved over 700 small and mid-sized business decision-makers, revealed that 57% of correspondents don’t support the new legislation with 46% not prepared for it and 55% unaware of its existence. Furthermore there was a clear generational divide in the results, with double the number of business owners under 34 supporting the new legislation compared to those over 55.

The government believes that the new law, which means employees with over 26 weeks employment have a legal right to request flexible working options, will increase productivity, estimating that it will bring overall economic benefits of £475m in its first 10 years.

A recent Regus study supports the government’s assumptions with 76% of small businesses – which currently have flexible working options in place – stating that it has increased productivity in their business.

YouGov’s research found that of the small businesses that do not have flexible working procedures currently in place (86%), only 5% believe the legislation will have a positive effect on their business with a lack of trust (23%) the most cited reason against the legislation.

Andrew Millard, Citrix’s international marketing director, believes that technology will play a key role in helping the legislation work for companies:

“Thanks to modern technology, putting efficient flexible working processes in place can be done both quickly and easily.

“Whilst trust clearly remains a major issue, mobile workspace technology, which includes video conferencing, secure file sharing and real-time collaboration software, helps businesses overcome this by allowing employees to work together regardless of where they are. Work is something you do, not somewhere you go. As our own customers show us every day, those who are most flexible are increasingly the most successful.”

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