Flexibility can help boost productivityFlexible working practices have become increasingly popular during the recession among businesses looking to both retain staff and boost productivity, it has been stated.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said that the recession appeared to have "ushered" in a more widespread use of flexible working as companies look for more innovative ways to boost retention.

"Flexibility in working hours can allow people and time to be managed more effectively, enable companies to meet peaks and troughs in demand as well as having a positive impact on employee motivation, engagement and productivity," she added.

Ms Spellman explained that such flexibility must also be extended in order to entice young people to join their company, which could help to reduce the risk of a "dispossessed generation" being created as the UK comes out of recession.

Her comments come after the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched new guidance on flexible working that advises managers on how to make the most of their workforce and lower their operating costs.

Among the benefits of flexible working outlined by the group are higher staff retention, lower recruitment and training costs, along with reduced absenteeism, overtime and workplace stress.

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