The Sunday Telegrapoh

Flexible working rules change next month, and brave SMEs may reap big benefits – Sunday Telegraph - May 2014

Crimson & Co is pleased to announce Managing Director Richard Powell’s comments on flexible working hours in the Sunday Telegraph.

If you find it difficult scheduling meetings with clients, spare a thought for Richard Powell. Seven of the 35 employees at his management consultancy firm Crimson & Co are on flexible contracts, including one who works the equivalent of one day a week spread over five days. The rest work remotely.

‘It is difficult enough to arrange a meeting when everyone works in the same office five days a week,’ says Richard. ‘If you have employees on flexible working and the client on flexible working too, it can be a nightmare to organise.’

Richard says the challenge of setting up meetings is far outweighed by the advantages of flexible working, not least the fact that he can attract – and afford – high quality workers who don’t want to be tied to a traditional five–day working week. ‘We get all their experience and capability in a way that suits us, and they get to do a job that fits in with their life. It is a total win-win.’

Leaders of small to medium enterprises in love with the rigid structure of the 9-to-5 working day might wish to look away now. From June 30, after six months in a job any employee will have the right to request flexible working, a right currently restricted to parents of young children or carers.

For many employers, however, flexible working may conjure up nightmare visions of employees wandering in and out as they please, disrupting their business. The initial instinct when faced with a request may be to see which of the permitted reasons they can use to say ‘no’.

But that would be a mistake. Certainly, flexible working requires some thought to overcome the challenges of maintaining communication, but it also represents an amazing opportunity to rethink the whole way your business is run.

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