Small and medium-sized firms lag behind their larger rivals by ignoring flexible working practices that can increase productivity and boost staff satisfaction.
Independent research commissioned by Citrix Online showed that just 40 per cent of SMEs allow employees to work from home, compared to 76 per cent of large companies.
Large enterprises are also far more likely to allow employees to adjust start and finish times, and four times more likely to operate job-sharing schemes.
The study identified the three most popular flexible working options among UK businesses as allowing staff to take a day's holiday at short notice (offered by 78 per cent), adjusting start and finish times (64 per cent) and working at home (41 per cent).
While 90 per cent of UK employers offer some flexible working options, many employees are missing out because companies simply pay lip service to the concept and fail to provide adequate support.
Only 43 per cent of SMEs polled for the research have technologies in place to support home working, compared to 76 per cent of bigger companies.
The research also warned that the SME sector is in danger of falling further behind in the future.
Just over half of large companies are likely to introduce new technologies over the next three years to facilitate remote working or home-working, compared to just one in five employers in the SME sector.
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