The right for every employee to request flexible working becomes law in the UK. Previously it had only been an option for parents and carers. Hayley Platt visted one firm who already operates flexible working to find out the benefits.
Syd Nadim runs a digital design agency called Clock. He employees 50 staff but sometimes only 1 in 4 of them are in the office. He believes in flexible working and his staff are only required to be in between 11 and 2. They can choose when they work the rest of their hours and where. SOUNDBITE: Syd Nadim, Exec. Chairman & Founder, Clock, saying (English): "Fundamentally if you've got happy people and happy staff you're going to perform far better than dissatisfied and disgruntled staff. You're going to have less churn because people are going to want to stay with the company, you're going to be able to attract better people, because they're going to want to come and work in a company that's looking after their staff and giving them opportunities and it makes financial sense." All UK workers can now request flexible working - before only those with children or dependents could apply. The UK government believes the move will help working families and boost the economy. Bosses don't have to say yes - but they do have to give a good reason for refusing. Liesl Smith is from the Federation of Small Businesses. SOUNDBITE: Liesl Smith, Head of Media, Federation of Small Businesses, saying (English): "We know many small businesses that already do it but there will be some that can't, whether its through cost or whether it's through finding the right people to do the right job." The new law will allow a further 20 million UK workers to request flexi time. And Britain is leading the way in Europe. Over two thirds of UK businesses already offer flexible contracts. That compares to 57 percent in Germany, 48 percent in The Netherlands and 38 percent in Belgium. But not everyone's in favour - U.S. CEO Marissa Mayer famously ended a flexible culture at Yahoo when she took over saying her execs needed to be "physically together". Clock employees Clare Wilson and Francisco Babtista aren't execs. But they say the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. SOUNDBITE: Clare Wilson, Office Manager, Clock, saying (English): "It makes me more productive because I enjoy where I work and I know if I work hard it's acknowledged and you get rewarded for it." SOUNDBITE: Francisco Babtista, Technical Project Manager, saying (English): "I don't have to feel guilty about going to pick up my little girl up at 3 o'clock/4 o'clock because as long as my work is done, as long as I have delivered when it matters to the business everything else is just a bonus, it's great." It's all very well for a technology company to embrace the home working culture But many businesses - particularly those in the retail and service sectors - may find it hard to accommodate requests. And they may have to take care if they allow some employees flexi time and others not.