Latest News | 8 August 2023

Chamber urges more firms to consider flexible working

East Midlands Chamber
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East Midlands Chamber has urged more firms to consider offering flexible working following the publication of a national report showing its prevalence.

The study by the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) insight unit showed 76% of UK businesses provide flexible working to their staff, although significant disparities exist between sectors in the extent to which it is offered.

Lucy Robinson, director of resources at the chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, has now urged all employers to consider how they can implement flexible working – including remote working, flexed hours and job sharing – amid acute people and skills shortages.

She said: “With three-quarters of businesses saying they offer flexible working to their employees; it is clear this has now become part and parcel of everyday workplace practices since we came out of the pandemic.

“Wherever possible, many employers are willing to support their people to balance work and other commitments – and the reason for this, it would appear, is because they understand it makes good business sense by helping them to attract and retain a skilled workforce.

“With East Midlands Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey showing that seven in 10 firms attempting to recruit are struggling to fill vacancies, a flexible working policy can help to tackle labour shortages by enabling people to stay in work when their circumstances change.

“This also helps businesses to create an inclusive workplace environment as they can attract candidates from a broader range of backgrounds – which employers tell us provides real business benefits such as improved decision-making via diversity of thought, enhanced staff recruitment and retention levels, and allowing them to better represent customers and clients.”

The research found that 86% of business-to-business services sector employers – including legal, finance, marketing and media – offer flexible working in some form, compared to 74% of business-to-consumer firms and 73% of manufacturers.

Lucy said: “While not every sector can provide the same level of flexibility, there are steps employers in typically on-premise industries, such as manufacturing and construction, can take such as offering staggered hours, shift swaps, job sharing, compressed working weeks and offering greater flexibility with time off.”

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