Providing employees the ability to work from home is likely to benefit British businesses in the long-term.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) revealed that over a third of workers would appreciate the chance to work from home but the overwhelming majority do not have this opportunity.
Under the current system employers must provide flexible working opportunities to workers with children aged under 17 or disabled children under 18 years of age while staff who act as carers are also afforded this right.
Employers may want to give their workers the power to request flexible working hours on an ad hoc basis as this is likely to improve their morale, increase productivity and enhance overall performance.
It has been reported that the coalition government will scrap their proposed plans to give workers the ability to request flexible working in order to reduce business regulation, however, employers should explore the benefits of allowing this right.
Giving a workforce the right to work flexibly may not prove productive especially if a large number of employees choose to work from home at the same time but providing the chance to request will at least give workers an enhanced sense of empowerment.
Having the chance to request to work flexibly will enable employees to feel more in control of their lives and this increased sense of wellbeing can help improve their performance in the workplace.
Employee mental health issues are an increasing concern for businesses in the current economic climate so flexible working can help workers better cope with financial pressures at home.
Introducing schemes such as flexible contracts for working parents can help employees with children better handle circumstances such as school runs, holiday periods and family emergencies.
There is plenty of evidence that suggests flexible working is beneficial for employee wellbeing because it helps improve work-life balance which is essential to workplace performance.
If businesses are worried about their reputation as an employer, appearing family-friendly will help them attract a wider range of skilled workers and also make them more attractive to customers.
Businesses that are interested in the benefits of flexible working should employ the services of performance improvement consulting experts to see how this practice will affect the efficiency of their processes.
Performance improvement consulting professionals can examine the effectiveness of business processes by applying systems thinking theory in order to view an organisation from a customer's perspective.