Clegg calls for shift in attitudes to flexibility

4432811085_2797723987_oDeputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has challenged British employers to embed flexibility and family-friendly policies in the workplace.

Speaking at the launch of networking group City Fathers in London, he said corporate support for flexibility “still isn’t translating into the wholesale shift in attitudes we need”.

Clegg said views that flexibility is a burden on business and damages competitiveness are not based in fact. “The reality is that countries like Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands which actively champion more family-friendly working arrangements are consistently rated amongst the top economies on global competitiveness and well-being.”

“UK research also shows that employees working flexibly are more prepared to go that extra mile… family-friendly policies help to reduce staff turnover, boost performance and improve job satisfaction.”

A survey of 750 working fathers released by City Fathers said 44% see missing their children as their biggest daily challenge and almost a third (29%) either took no paternity leave or did not take their full entitlement. It added that 45% described their work life balance as less than satisfactory.

“It is as if even asking to work differently marks you out as less committed, ambitious or capable than your colleagues without children,” said Clegg, adding that families on the lowest incomes have fewer chances to take advantage of flexible working.

“No successful business leader would think twice about investing in the latest technology to help their business get ahead. In the same way, we need to show how an upgrade in old-fashioned attitudes to flexible working can sharpen competitiveness even more.”

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