Three quarters of South African respondents believe flexible working is a critical measure to achieving higher productivity (76%).

This is according to the latest Regus survey, which confirms that in any economic climate – but particularly in times of high market volatility – businesses continue to review their strategies in order to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.

Experts tend to agree on a group of common initiatives to enhance productivity: flexible working; Cloud computing; knowledge management; better communication; training; and health measures such as giving employees the opportunity to cycle or walk to work.

The latest survey, which canvassed the opinion of more than 20 000 senior executives and business owners across 95 countries, delved deeper into the subject of flexible working and found that business people believe it not only helps improve employee productivity by reducing unused office space and slashing commutes, but also by helping workers become more efficient.

For example respondents report that flexible work encourages a greater sense of responsibility and fosters better decision making and creativity.

Other outcomes include:

* 76% of South African respondents think that flexible working improves productivity compared with 75% globally;

* In South Africa, 78% think flexible working encourages a greater sense of responsibility and time management;

* Flexible working also improves the quality(69%) and speed (67%) of decision making;

* Flexible working fosters creativity (76%); and

* Profitable business connections are also favoured by flexible working (71%).

Kirsten Morgendaal, area director for Regus, says: “Analysts highlight a number of practices that are proven to impact productivity more than others. Flexible working, with its added benefits of improved creativity and networking opportunities enabler, takes pride of place with global businesses stanchly supporting its critical role.

“Businesses know that flexible working enhances productivity, but how this comes about is clearly a mixture of many factors ranging from better time management and responsibility to reduction of stress. Given that flexible working also significantly reduces unused office space it is a win-win solution for businesses hoping to make a cost saving and improve worker productivity and happiness.”