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Scottish companies to receive help in managing remote workers

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A new organisation aimed at helping Scottish companies to manage remote workers during the coronavirus outbreak will be launched later on Wednesday.

Flexibility Works aims to help employers reap the benefits flexible working can bring for businesses and individuals.

A YouGov poll last year showed 87% of Scottish businesses reported a positive impact on the company when they offered flexible working.

Flexibility Works’ first major project will look at specifically supporting businesses to cope with flexible working during the pandemic.

Director and co-founder Nikki Slowey said: “The demand for flexible working is growing rapidly and organisations that have created a flexible working culture are seeing the benefits.

“Flexible working also has a key role to play in tackling a number of societal issues such as poverty, well-being and inequality.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created enforced home working for many organisations that weren’t anticipating or ready for such a shift.

“Home working is only one aspect of flexible working and our current situation is not what flexible working normally looks like.”

The company will host virtual coffee mornings for employees to offer tips and advice on how best to work from home, as well as answering any questions.

Mrs Slowey added: “It’s not something you switch to overnight without being prepared and it’s certainly not something you’re expected do while also looking after your children.

“It’s no surprise that businesses and employees are struggling to adapt quickly to this changing environment.”

Longer-term, the organisation will work with Scottish companies to increase all kinds of flexibility at work, not just remote working.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Flexible working is vital to the Scottish Government’s ambition to encourage agile and inclusive workplaces which benefit all employees.

“It helps tackle the gender pay gap and ultimately benefits our economy and society as a whole.

“The ability to work flexibly is more important than ever as working practices change to tackle coronavirus.”

He added: “That’s why we, together with the Hunter Foundation through our Social Innovation Partnership, are supporting Flexibility Works with £175,000 to offer vital advice and support to businesses in this time of crisis.

“This new initiative will support organisations to continue to operate and adapt to the changed circumstances.

“Not only will this help them face up to the challenges of the pandemic, it will also create lasting benefits for employers and their staff.”