More than a third of British workers would be prepared to exchange a salary increase for greater flexible working options according to a YouGov survey for BT Business.

The research among UK workers and employers indicated that flexible working policies are a valued employee benefit, with more than 37 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women saying they would be willing to give up part of their next pay rise if they could work from home.

The findings also indicate that directors of the UK’s smaller businesses clearly recognise that flexible working policies can benefit their organisation with 65 per cent citing staff motivation and 50 per cent increased productivity as key reasons to adopt them. And the research showed that 59 per cent of small business directors believe they are as able as large organisations to embrace a flexible working culture.

Those working in London are most keen to have a better work/life balance, with 37 per cent of respondents who work in the capital prepared to forgo a pay rise in order to be able to work flexible hours. Those in the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside are least keen on the idea with just 23 per cent of workers in each prepared to consider it.

Notably, it is the young who prefer the idea of flexible working with 43 per cent of 18- to 30-year-olds willing to consider lower pay to work at home, compared to 31 per cent of the over 50s.

This trend is supported by a DTI survey which found that 70 per cent of today’s graduate job seekers were actively looking for the chance to work flexibly. Almost half considered it to be the most important benefit an employer could offer.