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Parents and business bosses are firmly split over the benefits of working from home, new research reveals.

According to the Microsoft-commissioned study, flexi-working benefits are as high a priority as salary size to working parents but this demand was causing a conflict with 70 per cent of UK employers who were reluctant to free staff from the office, fearing the impact it would have on productivity and profits.

The survey also revealed this rift between staff and bosses is likely to continue as more workers looked to take advantage of the flexible working legislation introduced in April which gave all parents with children under six the right to apply to work away from their office.

With 3.7 million UK parents falling into this category, this legislation is expected to have a major impact on business culture.

Mike Pryke-Smith, medium business marketing manager at Microsoft, said UK businesses needed to wake up to flexi-working.

“I know from experience that bringing up children is a full time job in itself, parents need help balancing the 24/7 with 9-to-5 and business really needs to consider this.

“Introducing flexi-working will mean a major cultural change for an organisation, but if in the long term it helps the business benefit more from a 3.7 million strong, highly skilled workforce, then that’s a change for the better,” he said.

The study also discovered firms, which had introduced flex-working policies, had reported a number of advantages such as higher productivity, greater job satisfaction, lower staff turnover and lower absenteeism.

“Now that government legislation is in place flexible working is here to stay, two months on parents are obviously keen to embrace it but for businesses the move towards a flexi-working policy is still clearly a difficult decision.

“Flexi-working can certainly make a big difference to the culture of a business but predominately in a positive ways – there are clear long term benefits that I would urge employers to grasp now,” added Pryke-Smith.

© Startups.co.uk is the biggest independent small business site in the UK. It has more than 2500 articles covering everything from taking on staff to dealing with VAT.

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