A representative of the Unison trade union has called on the government and employers to boost the provision of flexible working practices, claiming such measures could create greater diversity.

Michelle Singleton, the organisation's assistant policy officer, explained that current flexible provisions are predominantly aimed at women and therefore contribute to discrimination against females in the workplace.

"It is often women … who currently take the option of flexible working," she said. "[It is] dismissed by a lot of employers as a decision between taking your career seriously or taking your home life seriously."

Ms Singleton added that allowing employees greater freedom in selecting their working arrangements could have a positive impact on mental health and general morale, as well as removing the "glass ceiling" restricting ambitious women.

Bosses in search of tips on how to foster stronger relationships with staff could benefit from attending the forthcoming Employee Engagement Summit 2011, due to take place at London's Canary Wharf on March 3rd.

Posted by Hayley Edwards