Here's what flexible working has done to businesses' bottom lines

Hayley Kirton
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O2 Launches Country's Biggest Ever Flexible Working Pilot
These gentleman are clearly very excited about flexible working (Source: Getty)

If the Monty Python crew had made a film about the modern-day office, they might ask what flexible working has ever done for us – apart from bucking up employer brand, bolstering productivity and boosting businesses' bottom lines, that is.

A survey released today by Vodafone discovered that three-quarters of companies around the world have now introduced some sort of flexible working policy, with many also reporting positive results.

When asked what they thought the knock-on effect of flexible working was for their business, 83 per cent said it had improved productivity and 58 per cent said it had helped to boost their company's reputation.

Three out of five (61 per cent) said that their ventures into flexible working had even had a direct effect on their profit and loss statement by increasing their company's earnings.

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Vodafone thinks that improved connectivity is to thank for enabling flexible working, with 61 per cent of people asked saying they used their home broadband connection to access work applications and around a quarter (24 per cent) saying they took advantage of their mobile data allowance to keep working while on the move.

"We truly are in an era when work is what you do, not where you go," said Vodafone Global Enterprise Asia Pacific president Ben Elms.

However, a survey released in April by Citrix discovered that many in the UK would happily move to the countryside if they weren't so concerned about their career prospects, with lack of connectivity highlighted as one of the key aspects preventing them from leaving the city.

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Vodafone is not the first company to hit upon the power of flexible working. A report published earlier this year by She's Back and the Management Consultancies Association found that women who had left a career in consultancy cited lack of flexible working as a key factor for driving them out of the industry.

Three-quarters (77 per cent) of those surveyed said that a more flexible approach as to "when and where" work takes place was critical for them to return to work.

Since 2014, employees in the UK have had the right to request flexible working once they have put in 26 weeks' worth of service.

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Although minister of state for skills Nick Boles told a select committee hearing in February that it was unlikely that government would go as far as to legislate for flexible working to be offered as a requirement at recruitment, he added that "if you've got half a brain cell as an employer" you'd be offering it where possible already and "it doesn't need me to regulate it".

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