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Merit Event – Getting Ahead With Flexible Working September 22, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Events.
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We are pleased to announce the latest event being organised by the IT support group Merit. It takes place on Wednesday 15 October at Everton FC.

We have been describing work as a place we go to for hundreds of years. Within the next ten years, your business will be ‘doing business’ in different ways from today.

Attracting and retaining staff, reducing the cost of doing business and continually improving product and customer service capabilities will be the key elements to maintaining and improving profitability. The ‘old’ way of getting the job done in one place of work will be replaced by more flexible and responsive methods. In particular, more people will be working from outside the ‘traditional’ office.

As well as providing an excellent networking opportunity this event will look at the economic, environmental and social benefits of ‘flexible working’ and what it means to your business now and in the future. It also looks at dispelling the myths of flexible and home working providing tips on how to get started and will show how businesses can maximise the benefits from technology to help them work more flexibly.

This special event supports ‘Small Business Week 2008’ – a week-long campaign dedicated to championing the 4.3million-plus small enterprises in the UK , bringing together small businesses from across the country, independent business organisations,

For further information on the campaign visit www.sbw08.co.uk

Registration 11:00 – 11:30

Presentation
11:30 – 12:30

Lunch/Networking/Demonstration
12:30 – 2:00

There will also be a FREE tour of the ground and a prize draw.

Venue

Everton Football Club,
Dixie Dean Suite,
Liverpool
L4 4EL

Register for FREE on the Merit website.

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Local Business Split On Flexible Working August 16, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Flexible working, News, Policy, Surveys.
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Liverpool Chamber’s last ‘quick poll’ on our homepage asked ‘does your business offer flexible working’?

Over 400 people responded, revealing an apparently even split in the city. 50.37% said they did have access to flexible working, while 49.63% did not.

We’ve posted about flexible working several times on the Chamber blog. The Equal Opportunities Commission recently found that companies who introduce flexible working patterns report that they see increased productivity, improved staff engagement, and are better placed to deal with customer needs.

Check out our other posts on the subject to learn more about the benefits of flexible working.

Or visit the Chamber’s main site to take part in our latest quick poll. In the light of today’s A-level results, we’re asking if today’s school-leavers are equipped academically for employment.

Study Reveals Lack Of Flexible Working In UK June 14, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Flexible working, Legislation, News, Policy.
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The BBC today reports on findings by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on the state of flexible working in British business.

The EOC has found that companies who introduce flexible working patterns report that they see increased productivity, improved staff engagement, and are better placed to deal with customer needs.

However, despite the growth in flexible working, the UK is lagging behind its European competitors. Only 20% of UK employers offer telworking, one of the most popular and cost-effective forms of flexible working, compared to around 40% in Germany, Sweden and Denmark. And while flexi-time is available in around 90% of German and Swedish companies, just 48% of UK companies offer it.

Read the full EOC’s press release on this issue.

Read the EOC’s ‘Transformation of Work’ reports.

Read other stories about flexible working from the Chamber blog.

True Extent of Flexible Working Unveiled in Groundbreaking Survey April 27, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Business, Flexible working, Legislation, News, Policy.
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The extent to which flexible working is provided by employers in the UK has been unveiled in a groundbreaking new report by the British Chambers of Commerce.

‘Work and Life: How business is striking the right balance’ provides the first overview of what British businesses are actually doing to meet the work life balance needs of their employees. There is an assumption amongst politicians from across the political spectrum that business has to be forced to be flexible through regulation yet this research turns perceived wisdom on its head.

Amongst the key findings are:

·     89 per cent of the businesses surveyed provide their employees with some form of flexible working.

·     72 per cent offer part time working; 69 per cent offer variable working hours; 38 per cent offer working from home.

·     71 per cent of employers believe that there has been either some or a significant improvement in employee relations as a result of offering flexible working

·    60 per cent of employers reported some or a significant improvement in staff retention

·    58 per cent of employers reported some or a significant improvement in productivity

Interestingly, the reason why politicians may seem so keen to regulate is the fact that businesses are poor at celebrating their own achievements. As many as  84 per cent of respondents do not have a formal written ‘work-life balance’ policy, helping to explain the perception gap that exists between what employers are actually doing and what politicians assume they are doing.

The reason that employers gave for not offering flexible working shows the folly of trying to impose a one-size fits all approach on business:

·     56 per cent highlighted the difficulty in achieving business growth with a reorganised workload and resources.

·    32 per cent cited a desire to be fair to all employees

·   21 per cent cited the administrative burden of new policies as being a barrier to providing flexible working

Instead of legislating it is clear that businesses need practical guidance about how they can work more flexibly at low cost.  Without the HR support that large firms have, SME’s need business support schemes tailored specifically to their needs.

Sally Low, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“This report clearly shows how disconnected politicians are from the reality of the UK’s workplaces.

“Business is well ahead of the current debate. The overwhelming majority of respondents to our survey are embracing flexibility because they understand clearly the benefits of providing flexible working to their employees, reporting improvements in employee relations, staff retention and productivity.

“The debate now needs to shift away from what employers are not doing to focus on what they are and try to identify the real barriers to greater flexibility. Those who aren’t providing flexibility for their staff lack the management confidence to restructure the way they manage their staff, only advice and support will rectify this while further regulation will impose a needless and onerous burden”.

95% Support Flexible Working March 8, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Flexible working, News.
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In this week’s quick poll on the Chamber’s homepage, over 95% of voters have said ‘YES’ that ‘flexible working is good for business’.

Of 438 votes cast, 95.89% said yes, to 4.11% voting no.

Flexible working is increasingly becoming more important. It offers staff greater control over their working lives, improves both efficiency and productivity, encourages staff retention and helps improve the all-important work/life balance.

By allowing staff to work more flexible hours or the option to work from home, even just one day a week, employers can see a range of benefits. It’s even better for the environment, cutting down on travel emissions (and expenses).

Find out more about homeworking at Enterprise Nation

Visit the Telework Association website.

Read about the launch of the NW Flexible Working Group at the GMDDA website.

Brush up on the current flexible working laws.

Is Flexible Working Good For Business? March 1, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Flexible working, Surveys.
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That’s the question we’re asking in the quick poll on Liverpool Chamber’s main site.

This is a topic we’ve mentioned before here on the Chamber blog. We’d really like to find out what employers AND employees think of increased flexibility in working hours and conditions. Is flexitime a real boon? Does working from home really boost your productivity? And what about the work/life balance? Is yours off kilter?

Let us know, by leaving comments or taking the home page poll.

Flexible Working For All? February 12, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, News.
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Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes has called for all UK workers to be given the right to work more flexibly.

She claims that allowing staff to work from home will allow them a better  work-life balance, and makes them more efficient and productive.

Currently, parents of children under the age of six, or disabled children under 18, are the only ones who have the right to request flexible working, although anyone can request it.

However, allowing staff to work from home occasionally, or to have more flexible hours, is proven to increase productivity, staff morale and staff retention. It also helps the environment, reducing travel and commuting costs.

Liverpool Chamber already practices a flexible working policy, giving its staff more freedom in where and when it can work. The benefits are clear to all and we believe they should at least be considered by employees across the city.

Read more on Beverley Hughes’ announcement on the BBC website.

Find out more about the current laws on flexible working.

Attend a BT symposium on flexible working. 

BT Reveals All At Flexible Working Symposium February 8, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Events.
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BT’s Director of People and Policy will be the headline guest speaker at a Flexible Work Symposium being put on by the Northwest Development Agency at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday 27 March 2007.

Caroline Waters, whose responsibilities include developing policies for BT’s flexible workforce of 70,000 people, will be delivering a presentation on how BT successfully operates its flexible work programme and the significant benefits it generates.

Since implementing flexible working more than 20 years ago, BT has recorded higher rates of employee productivity, lower absenteeism and reduced overheads. BT homeworkers are 7% happier than their site-based colleagues and 99% of women return to BT after maternity leave, saving the company around £5m per year in recruitment and induction costs.

Over a 12 month period, flexible working has saved BT people the equivalent of 1,800 years commuting with reduced travel costs over the same period amounted to £9.7 million. Add to this the fact that the annual cost to support an office-based desk worker in London is £18,000 a year, compared with the £3,000 price tag of supporting a home worker and the flexible working sums clearly add up.

The event is being organised by the Northwest Development Agency and is supported by the Northwest Flexible Working Group and is free to attend. It is open to HR, IT and Finance executives who are running or considering implementing a flexible working policy.

Peter Connor, regional manager for BT and Chair of the Northwest Flexible Working Group said “We are delighted to be welcoming Caroline to the region. This will be the first time such a detailed presentation on BT’s Flexible Working programme has been delivered outside of London and it’s only right that it should be here in the Northwest as we have a vision to develop the region as the lead location in encouraging and supporting this modern way of working.”

Andrew Halliwell, acting Head of Regional ICT Policy at the Northwest Regional Development Agency and fellow Flexible Working Group member, said “The Northwest Regional Development Agency is supporting this Symposium as we recognise that an increase in flexible working delivers benefit to the region’s economy and environment. We know that the Northwest is already home to thousands of at-home entrepreneurs and employees who are making use of one of the UK’s leading IT infrastructures with over 99.99% broadband coverage across the region and this event will encourage this activity to flourish yet further.”

With presentations from four providers of flexible working products and services, plus an Exhibition, the afternoon event is expected to be a sell-out. There are only 60 places available; for registration details, please visit the England’s North West website to find programme details and a registration form.

Can You Help With a Survey on Flexible Working? January 30, 2007

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business.
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Employers in the UK are offering a wide range of working patterns to increasing numbers of staff. This is not primarily because they are required to do so by legislation evidence suggests that the great majority of employers offer flexible working to all employees.

Many companies recognise the benefits not only to their staff but to their business. When employers provide flexible working opportunities, this is good for recruitment and retention and helps build an engaged workforce, all of which translates into improved profitability.

However some employers find it hard to see how they can offer flexible working to staff without putting at risk delivery of production or service targets, or causing resentment among other employees. In order to provide practical guidance in this area, our national body, the British Chambers of Commerce is undertaking joint research in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This will explore how smaller companies are adopting flexible working practices, and how they are dealing with the practical issues.

We are looking for companies that have made significant progress towards opening up opportunities for flexible working to their staff and would be happy to discuss their experience with researchers from the CIPD. We anticipate that this will involve discussions with a small number of managers and employees, lasting no more than half a day in all, in each of the companies selected. We are looking to draw case studies from both manufacturing and services, and to get a reasonable spread in terms of geographical location and company size.

If you would be interested in discussing this research with a view to taking part, please email policy@liverpoolchamber.org.uk. The deadline for collection of contact details for potential case studies is Monday the 12th February 2007.

EU Policy – UK Business May 18, 2009

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Legislation, Policy.
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eu-flagWith the European elections less than three weeks away Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is urging business leaders to consider the implications of EU legislation on UK business and the UK economy.

Liverpool Chamber’s Head of Policy, Maresa Molloy stated: “Business leaders need to be aware of the following key changes to UK legislation implemented by the European Parliament.”

  1. Agency Workers and the Working Time Directive
  2. Pregnant Workers
  3. Small Business Act. & 3a. European Company Statute
  4. Regulatory Reform
  5. Late Payment Directive
  6. Services Directive.
  7. EU Recovery Plan.

(more…)