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April 03, 2014

Also in the news this week – 4 April 2014

Home working good for productivity

UK employees would get more done if they could work from home, according to a survey by Crucial. A quarter of workers said they would be more productive and 60% said they would be more innovative if they could work from home. But almost 40% of workers said they never or rarely got the chance to do so. People want to work from home because they find offices too distracting, says the report. In addition, over 40% say they would work longer hours at home and 70% say they are more likely to work for a business that offers home working.

SMEs not ready for auto-enrolment

Thousands of medium-sized firms (with 160-249 staff) have had to start auto-enrolling their staff into a workplace pension scheme this month. However, a survey by law firm Irwin Mitchell suggests that the transition could be harder than they realise. Although just 28% of SMEs said they expect to struggle with the administrative burden, half of the larger companies that have already complied say they wished that they had given themselves more time to prepare. And 33% said that they had taken on extra staff to deal with the extra administration. Meanwhile, new research by NOW: Pensions finds that 44% of SMEs haven't given any thought to how they'll find a pension scheme to comply with auto-enrolment.

Half of Scottish SMEs fear independence

More than 90% of small business owners in Scotland have already decided how they are going to vote in the September referendum on Scottish independence, but 48% believe independence would be a negative step for their own business. Ingenious Britain surveyed 1,000 small business owners in Scotland and found that 37% of small business owners thought that independence would be positive for their company, whilst 10% felt it would have no real impact. The issues of most concern for small business owners in a prospective independent Scotland are taxation, potential new regulations, employment, currency issues, EU membership, transport and infrastructure.

2014 British Franchisee of the Year Awards

This year's British Franchisee of the Year Awards are now open for applications. The HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award is given to the UK's most outstanding franchisee, selected from the winners of six categories: franchisee customer service, young franchisee of the year, micro-business of the year, female franchisee of the year, olderpreneur franchisee of the year (for over 55s) and B2B franchisee of the year. Franchisors have until 28 May to nominate franchisees, before finalists are invited for interviews with the judging panel in July. The winners will be announced at a black-tie ceremony in Birmingham on 2 October 2014.

 A fifth of employees don't take full holiday

Many workaholic Brits do not use their full holiday allowance, according to a poll of online shoppers. The survey by CheapHolidayLand found that 19% said they regularly didn't use their complete holiday quota. And 4% said they often had more than a week's worth of holiday they didn't use. 35% said that they tried to keep a few days of holiday spare in case of emergencies, whereas 18% said they booked all their annual leave in advance.