The UK's smaller businesses "do not understand" flexible working, new research claims.
The Orange SMS Business Jury survey found that just over half of businesses believe that flexible working means taking time off for working extra hours.
Nearly a third think it means working from home, just over one in 10 think it means working remotely and seven per cent think it means working part time.
Just over half of respondents believe that an office is the most productive working environment, more than double the number that chose home working, while only a handful thought that working from a café would be productive.
The onset of spring sunshine may have influenced the fifth of respondents who believe working outside to be the most productive environment.
By far the most commonly associated benefit for a business to adopt flexible working is a decrease in stress, followed by an increase in staff loyalty.
Just less than a fifth believe that flexible working boosts productivity and/or revenues. Only three per cent believe that flexible working reduces the company's carbon footprint.
The results of the poll show that the biggest challenge for businesses is a lack of trust, and that staff worry about the perception of flexible working as 'out of sight out of mind'.
Fewer than a fifth see flexible working as adding to stress levels for managers, yet only six per cent feel there is a negative impact on productivity/revenues.
Improving the work-life balance and having the right technology (e.g. remote email access) were the most important considerations for businesses introducing flexible working. Trust in staff came in as the second most important consideration.
Martin Lyne, director of SMEs at Orange Business Services, said: "The results of this poll show that the owners and managers of British businesses have many different interpretations of what flexible working actually means.
"This confusion could be counterintuitive to employers and employees. If flexible working is properly understood and introduced to organisations, it can have a positive impact for employers and employees alike."
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