Business leaders champion financial effects of flexible working

Business leaders champion financial effects of flexible working

The case for flexible working has received a significant boost this week after 22 leaders from some of the biggest and well-known companies in the UK came together to compile a report on the subject.

The Agile Future Forum (AFF), which is comprised of representatives from organisations such as the BT Group, B&Q, Ford and the Lloyds Banking Group, found that employers could generate over ten per cent in cost savings across the workforce if they implemented flexible working practices.

The forum's report, Understanding the Economic Benefits of Workforce Agility, revealed that all of its founding companies have managed to save between three and 13 per cent in employee costs.

It also argued that new agile models of work could save a further three to seven per cent, and even lead to an extra sales boost of 11 per cent.

Offering employees more flexibility is said to be the main way of meeting the challenge posed by changes in technology, demand and demographics, as well as the ongoing influence of globalisation.

Sir Win Bischoff, AFF chair and chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Historically, workforce agility (or flexibility as it is more commonly known) has largely been positioned as an employee benefit, part of the employee value proposition, rather than a way for companies to meet their strategic business goals in a challenging business environment.

"Creating agile workforces has helped AFF companies to compete in the global market. We believe agile working practices could help other UK businesses too."

John Cridland, director-general at CBI, added that one of the challenges being faced by businesses was the increasingly mobile nature of many workforces up and down the country.

The rise of bring your own device (BYOD) strategies, which have encouraged more employees to work remotely, could be considered to be one of the main reasons why the topic has been the subject of much debate from business leaders.

Many have already recognised the fact that such a policy may appeal to the 96 per cent of employees looking to work flexibly, but can still hold challenges if an effective mobile device management solution is not put in place.