This week I attended the launch of a report from the CIPD and British Chambers of Commerce entitled 'Flexible Working: Good Business' which reinforced the message that new ways of working are not just 'Family Friendly' but also good for the bottom line. The report ( http://www.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/1E768AF2-4E20-4ADC-B4A4-90E8F105FCB7/0/flexwrkgudbus.pdf ) was launched by the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, which shows that this topic is getting attention at a high level in political circles.
I pointed out to George that current legislation only gives the right to request flexible working to carers and that this gives out the wrong message (ie it is good for work-life balance not that it is good for the bottom line). I asked if a Conservative government would either remove the current right or extend it to all employees. He responded that they would not be removing the current right and that David Cameron would be making an announcement later this week about extending it.
Yesterday David Cameron made his announcement at the launch of the Equal Opportunities Commission report 'Enter the Timelords'. He stopped short of saying he would extend the right to all employees and just said he would extend it to all parents, so he hasn't quite got the message yet!! ( see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=JJL4JX4DVO1PXQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/06/14/nparents114.xml )
However the EOC report is BRILLIANT. It's the best summary I've seen about the state of flexible working in the UK and the benefits it can bring. It splits flexible workers into four types Timelords, Remote Controllers, Shift-Shapers and Time Stretchers. It is a very readable report and despite the fact that it quotes me in several places is a very persuasive tool to promote flexible working!!
DO read it NOW ( http://www.eoc.org.uk/PDF/Transformation_timelords_report.pdf )