· News

More businesses offer flexible working than ever before - but there is still room for improvement

More companies in the UK are implementing flexible working initiatives than ever before, according to Orange.

The telecoms company surveyed 500 businesses and found 63% offer some type of flexibility to employees. Welsh staff are the most likely to take up the offer with 29% working remotely, compared with 25% in the south of England and 22% in Scotland.

Sheffield is the city with the most flexible working with 32% of employers giving staff the option while Brighton and Liverpool came bottom with only 15% of employers having flexible working policies.

But more than a third (36%) do not offer flexibility at all and in the West Midlands only 16% of employers have a flexible working arrangement in place.

The survey also found a disconnect between HR and IT departments around flexible working as 50% of employees who work flexibly are unable to access technology that administers it.

Nearly three quarters of employers (72%) think flexible working boosts morale, more than half (53%) think it improves morale and 58% think it helps staff retention.

Orange UK vice-president of business Paul Tollet said: "It's great that over half the UK working population is able to take advantage of flexible working. But the fact that over a third of employers have yet to consider it is surprising, particularly when the benefits are well acknowledged."