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April 10, 2014

Also in the news this week – 11 April 2014

The high cost of commuting

UK workers spend 43 million hours commuting each day – of which almost 18 million hours could be used more productively if employees could work from home, according to a survey by It also found that 70% of workers said that they would be much more likely to work for a company that offered the option of home working and 64% said it was easier to focus when working from home. In addition, 40% of people said they would willingly work longer hours if they were given the option to work from home. And, when able to work at home, 20% of people admitted that they stayed in their pyjamas all day.

Number of employment tribunals tumble as fees come in

Employment tribunal claims have fallen by a staggering 79% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2013 in the wake of government changes to the tribunal system. In summer 2013 the government introduced fees for tribunals, with employees having to pay £1,200 for claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination. Richard Fox, chair of the Employment Lawyers' Association and head of employment law at Kingsley Napley, said: "Despite the government's caveats, today's figures are concerning. It is now clear that many employees have been deterred from bringing tribunal claims since fees were introduced last year."

Many SMEs lack "digital maturity"

According to the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index – which measures the digital maturity of UK SMEs and charities – some 1.5m SMEs have a high degree of digital maturity and invest in digital infrastructure. However, the study found that 50% of SMEs still don't have a website, with 29% saying that being online is not relevant for their business. Many that do have websites still only have a basic brochure site. In addition, a third of businesses lack basic online skills and do not undertake digital training.

2014 British Franchise Exhibition

The British Franchise Exhibition takes place on 20 and 21 June this year at EventCity in Manchester and allows aspiring entrepreneurs to meet many franchisees in one place. The event covers a range of sectors including property, home care, technology, food and retail. It's supported by the British Franchise Association (BFA), so all companies exhibiting have met the BFA's code of ethical franchising. There is a full seminar programme, a Finance Clinic and a Careers Clinic. Register for free tickets and access an online appointment booking service on the franchiseinfo website.