India Inc is increasingly adopting flexible working hours at the office as it helps contain costs and push up employee productivity, a survey said.

Four-fifth of companies in India are now offering their staff flexible working hours and a majority of these companies are finding that it is bringing them major benefits such as reduced overheads, a research report by Regus said.

Regus is the world’s leading provider of workplace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully-equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios.

About 59 per cent of firms in India believe that flexible working costs less than fixed office working, the report said.

Over eight out of 10 businesses offering flexible working report that their staff has a significantly better work-life balance, improving satisfaction and motivation, while almost four in ten believe that it improves staff productivity.

Three in ten say that it helps them scale rapidly to cope with rapid growth, the report said.

“Of particular interest for emerging economies, over one-fifth of businesses globally (21 per cent) believe that flexible working practices are an asset to them in periods of sudden growth, as they allow rapid scalability,” it said.

One-fifth of businesses also regard flexible working as a solution that helps attract a wider talent pool (21 per cent) and even allow them to employ valuable people that live in more remote parts of their country (19 per cent), it said.

“That flexible working has become the norm is good news all round; from employer to employee, from families to wider society and even the environment, everyone can benefit,” Regus’ Country Head, Madhusudan Thakur, said.

These findings are part of a new global research report from Regus based on responses from 17,000 businesses across 80 countries.

However, the survey also finds that trust remains a major hurdle for many companies offering flexible working with 57 per cent of Indian businesses only offering this privilege to senior staff.

“By basing the right to flexibility on seniority, some firms are missing huge opportunities and may even alienate new talent that they may have gone to a great effort to attract,” Mr. Thakur said.

A major obstacle to India’s greater economic growth is problems with the transport infrastructure and the fact that India’s entrepreneurs and employees waste hours each day in traffic, Mr. Thakur said.

“Flexible working could help address this issue, so it is disappointing to still see some companies letting lack of trust hold them back from flexible working for all employees,” he said.

However, since a good proportion of them see its advantages, “even if they are not doing it at the moment, we can expect further growth in flexible working across the decade,” Mr. Thakur said.