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BT backs flexible working scheme

But bosses still fear home working...
Written by Sylvia Carr, Contributor

But bosses still fear home working...

BT is lending its support to an initiative which will promote flexible working.

The telco is the first company to back Work Wise UK, an initiative which will provide businesses and employees with information on maintaining work-life balance.

Work Wise aims to increase the number of people benefiting from 'smarter working' from 3.1 million to 14 million in three years' time, and is organising the Work Wise Week from 3-9 May to promote debate between government, unions and UK businesses on styles of working.

BT leads by example. The company boasts 11,500 employees who work from home and 64,000 who are able to work outside the office as needed. This policy results in cost savings through high worker retention and low absenteeism rates, according to the telco.

But not all managers are so keen on telecommuting. A recent survey sponsored by telecoms equipment-maker Mitel showed that nearly half of managers who don't allow teleworking forbid it because it's difficult to know what employees are doing.

Of the 200 executives surveyed, a third said teleworkers are less likely to be promoted than office workers and roughly the same number believe teleworkers don't work as hard a their desk-bound colleagues.

Employees appear keen on flexible working, though, as one in three businesses surveyed which did allow teleworking said they did so because of employee demand.

What do you think of flexible working? Weigh in on this and other key workplace issues in our 2006 Skills Survey.

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