As much as 64% of staff at Microsoft's MSN portal considered quitting for this reason. According to Microsoft UK, productivity and customer service improved as a result of a new 'management by objectives' policy, in which staff could arrange the hours they worked more flexibly provided they reached their goals.
Having rolled out the policy to the whole company in the UK, it now has a staff attrition rate of 7%, compared to an industry average of 15%.
Whilst the need for flexibility is growing, many businesses still regard the issue as a niche one, of relevance only to parents of young children. In fact, current social and workplace trends such as the extended retirement age is deepening its importance. Indeed, new research for the Equal Opportunities Commission found that 52% of men and 48% would like more flexible hours.
Companies make time for flexible hours
By Alison Maitland
Financial Times, 23 January 2006
Review by Morice Mendoza