Allowing flexibility in working practices and promoting environmentally-friendly policies enables companies to attract the best personnel, it has been suggested.

Speaking at a recent Work Wise UK summit, Caroline Waters, director of employment policy at BT, extolled the benefits of offering flexible working.

According to the industry practitioner, the only reason many managers want staff to be close is because they think this gives them control.

She said: "In this country alone, 1.1 billion hours are spent just in getting to work. Does that sound like an economy for the 21st century? I don’t think so."

Ms Waters went on to comment: "Flexibility and being hot on the green agenda allows you to reach out and get the best people who all have different perspectives."

According to a report published by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development last year, businesses cited recruitment and retention as the two reasons they offer flexible working opportunities.