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Round-up of the week

Posted on 15th April 2016

54 per cent of UK employees working flexibly

More than half of employees in the UK are taking advantage of flexible working opportunities, a new study has revealed.

According to research by the CIPD, 54 per cent of people work flexibly in some way. But interestingly, the figure is slightly lower in London, with just 52 per cent working flexibly, even though average commuting times in the capital are relatively high.

David D’Souza, head of London at the CIPD, has therefore urged any employers in London who are yet to be convinced of the merits of flexible working to change their mindset.

"There’s a clear divide in the quality of working lives between London workers who work flexibly and those that don’t," he commented. "The London 2012 Olympics was supposed to have heralded a new dawn for flexible working in the capital but progress appears to have stalled, significantly impacting the quality of people’s working lives and their productivity."

Mr D'Souza added that the employees who work flexibly tend to be happier, which means employers need to focus less on the traditional nine to five work culture and concentrate more on people's actual outputs.

"Rather than being the preserve of more senior managers the opportunity to work flexibly in different ways needs to become the norm for many more employees," he stated.

Should employees get involved in Brexit debate?

Organisations that want to express a view on the UK's membership of the EU ahead of the June referendum have been urged to consult their workforce.

According to global research specialist Qualtrics, many firms are struggling to articulate a clear view on the issue. 

As a result, it believes finding out the views of their employees could be worthwhile, particularly if members of the board are divided on whether to stay in or leave the EU.

Ian McVey, manager of Qualtrics in the UK, commented: "Giving employees a voice on such a crucial matter respects their opinions and contribution. It is also the most involving and inclusive way to help a board find a majority view with which to explain to wider audiences exactly where they stand on Brexit."

MPC keeps interest rates on hold 

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has chosen to keep interest rates on hold at 0.5 per cent. This means the cost of borrowing remained at an historic low since March 2009.

The BCC responded to the decision by saying this was not a surprise, even in light of a stronger than expected increase in inflation during March.

Chief economist David Kern said: "At a time when the UK economy is slowing, as highlighted by our recent Quarterly Economic Survey, and as major international organisations such as the IMF are downgrading their growth forecasts for the global economy, a key priority must be to persevere with the current low interest rates policy for the foreseeable future, while making every effort to boost growth."