British businesses need to embrace flexible working patterns and realise that being in the office is no longer relevant for many professionals.

That is according to Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, who was commenting in light of the government’s recent extension of flexible working rights.

The new legislation, which came into force yesterday (April 6th), stipulates that those with children under the age of 16 will now be entitled to request flexible working hours from their employer.

Mr Flaxton explained that "more and more of the working population and indeed their employers realise that the culture of presenteeism – going to a place of work Monday to Friday, nine to five, for many is less relevant".

He added: "To be able to introduce this legislation will obviously be welcomed by a considerable amount of the population who have got children under the age of 16."

Under the new law, an additional four and a half million employees could benefit from flexible working.

Employers must seriously consider applications for flexible working and are entitled to reject them only if they have a good business case for doing so.