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Flexible working a key issue for staff retention

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The majority of workers would change their job if it did not offer a flexible working option, according to new research.

A study led by Office Angels found that 59 per cent of employees questioned said that the ability to have a say in where or when they worked was of great importance to them.

Of those who were surveyed who already worked flexibly, nearly half said they did it simply because they preferred to rather than be limited to a strict nine-to-five routine.

A further 26 per cent said they chose to make the most of mobile working for travel purposes, while childcare was another reason given by just over a third of respondents.

The fact that the largest proportion of participants in the research did not give a solid reason as to why they made the decision to work in this manner suggests that employers are seeing it as an increasingly important aspect in the way they run their business.

Office Angels’ managing director Angela Smith said: “A strategic focus on flexible working can help an organisation attract and retain the best individuals. It is clear that a working culture which can adapt to a worker’s lifestyle is becoming increasingly important.”

She added that achieving a good work-life balance was now a key aim for many employees, however, businesses needed to be aware that this should still be approached in a responsible manner that will not be to the detriment of the company.

The study also found that staff aged between 25 and 34 were the most likely to view flexible working practices as a deal-breaker when it came to working for a company. Over two-thirds in the age group felt this way, compared with 50 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds.

Finally, just under two-thirds of firms said that they had seen a rise in the number of employees who were requesting to work flexibly compared with five years ago.