Have you often wondered whether 'working from home' was a euphemism for 'having a lie-in and occasionally checking emails whilst in the beer garden'!?
I'm joking, of course. And with the work-life balance becoming ever more important for both employee, especially those with children, and employers who want to keep staff happy and at their most productive, working out-of-office is a trend that's set to increase in popularity.
Staff appreciate a boss who bends over backwards to accommodate flexible working requests, a new study has found.
Being able to work away from the office was seen by mothers as the top benefit a company could offer, ranking it above a company pension, while fathers said it was more important than extended paternity leave as the factor making the most positive difference in their child's first year.
And it seems UK companies are leading the way, with almost three-quarters of small businesses offering some form of flexible working. Nearly half also welcomed government plans to extend the right to request such provisions to parents of older children.
As a result, the research by Citrix Online found, managers are enjoying an increase in staff retention and loyalty.
"Working parents worry about the effect having children will have on their career aspirations, so it is promising to see businesses are recognising the benefits of flexible working and introducing options that will really help employees," said Denise Tyler, founder of Mother@Work.
From a small business perspective, the main benefits of flexible working were seen as higher employee satisfaction, cited by 66 per cent of respondents, greater levels of staff retention (58%) and a better work-life balance for parents (48%).
But the research also revealed concern among small business managers over proposals to increase maternity leave from 39 to 52 weeks and to allow fathers to take up to 26 weeks of this entitlement if the mother returned to work.
It seems such worries are not limited to small business managers and owners, with almost half (46%) of fathers and 44 per cent of mothers admitting they thought they would be jeopardising their careers by taking extended periods of leave.
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