Despite recognising the benefits of flexible working, most companies are stubbornly sticking to normal hours, making the UK working week the longest in Europe.
A survey carried out by Elizabeth Hunt Recruitment has found that four out of ten businesses recognise the benefits of flexible working in recruiting and retaining staff.
A similar proportion also said that flexible working had a positive effect on their working culture, while a third agreed that it positively affected company reputation and image.
But despite this, more than six out of ten companies said they were ‘unlikely to’ or ‘definitely not’ going to offer flexible working.
Andrea Triplow from Elizabeth Hunt said: “This is a surprising result especially given the Government’s support for companies exploring flexible working options in order to help employees achieve a work-life balance.
“It can actually cost companies to stick to a culture of long-hours. Those more enlightened businesses that have embraced flexible working report greater productivity, reduced absenteeism, a decline in staff turnover and improved customer satisfaction particularly where flexible working has led to extended hours with some staff starting early and others finishing late."
And with the proportion of women in the workforce growing, flexible working is becoming ever more vital, she pointed out.
"Many women have responsibility for children or older parents and sometimes need to work shorter hours or just during term time.
"It makes sense to be able to offer them flexible working arrangements in order to have their skills put to use and not lost because of a traditional view of the working day,” Triplow added.