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Step-by-step guide to flexible working from Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched new flexible working guidance aimed at improving employee productivity, lowering business costs and meeting the needs of modern families.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission launched the guidance, Working Better: The Managers' Guide to Flexible Working, last week at the organisation's Annual General Meeting in Manchester.

It includes a step-by-step process for managers of small and large companies to implement effective flexible working practices and features examples from leading companies that have implemented flexible working policies, including BT, Sainsbury's, National Grid and IBM.

The guide reports employers with flexible working practices enjoy higher staff retention and lower recruitment and training costs, reduced absenteeism, overtime and workplace stress, more efficient use of office space, a better employer reputation and better succession planning.  

Phillips said: "Flexibility is a tool many British businesses use to attract and retain quality staff. Flexible working makes good business sense not only in maximising productivity but by providing a powerful tool to respond to customer needs.

"Many companies are using flexibility creatively to respond to recession, enabling them to cut costs while retaining skilled staff. This avoids the expense of hiring and training new staff when the economy recovers.

"As we look towards an economic recovery, having the best talent in place and the ability to respond to customer needs will be crucial to the speed at which a company recovers."