This is not just about enabling staff members to work from home, but also includes job sharing, part-time work, compressed hours, staggered hours and flexitime, to name but a few.
Initially, it may seem like flexible working is about benefitting employees but it has a wider impact on companies that can be highly advantageous.
The first benefit is that flexible working will often incentivise staff and help to keep them happy, which is paramount for a successful business.
Content employees will typically want to please their bosses and allowing them to work from home, part-time or on their own schedule can all bolster their loyalty to the business.
There is a practical advantage to flexible working too and if it is managed efficiently, it may allow an SME to take up a smaller office space.
If the company can be sure no more than a specific number of employees will be in the office on any one day, it can reduce the size of its working environment.
Not only will the SME potentially cut costs on rent or the size of its business mortgage, it will also benefit from reduced energy use, which all works to add savings to the business.
Similarly, enabling staff to work from home means an SME does not have to invest in as much equipment, including phones, computers, laptops, desks and chairs.
The internet has proven a cost-efficient way for small firms to cope in a challenging economic environment, so harnessing its advantages makes perfect sense.
Some SMEs will go so far as to run their business entirely online, eradicating many of the costs associated with an office space.
And for them, this is an ideal option, but for others, there remains the potential to introduce flexible working to keep the size of the office to a minimum.
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