Over half of SME decision makers are unaware of the new flexible working legislation that will come into effect at the end of this month, a study by YouGov has found.

The online survey, conducted on behalf of business solutions company Citrix, found that 55% of SMEs did not know the laws on flexible working are set to change at the end of the month. Only 43% support the new legislation.

Of the SMEs that don’t offer flexible working options, only 5% believe that the new legislation will have a positive effect on their business. While one in five (21%) believe it will instead have a negative impact.

This is despite estimations from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, who claim that flexible working will bring in benefits of £475 million in the first ten years through improved business efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Andrew Millard, Citrix’s senior director of international marketing, said:

“Thanks to modern technology, putting efficient flexible working processes in place can be done both quickly and easily. Whilst trust clearly remains a major issue, mobile workspace technology, which includes video conferencing,secure file sharing and real-time collaboration software, helps businesses overcome this by allowing employees to work together regardless of where they are. Work is something you do, not somewhere you go. As our own customers show us every day, those who are most flexible are increasingly the most successful.”

Almost half (46%) of SMEs currently have no flexible working options in place.

The legislation, which will be introduced on the 30th June, will allow any employee who has been working for an organisation for more than 26 weeks to request flexible working options. Previously this only applied to those who have children under 17 or dependants within their regular care.

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