Travel firms urged to honour staff working conditions

The travel industry should not stop offering staff flexible working options because of the recession, the Institute of Travel and Tourism has warned.

A report by ITT chair of tourism and events policy Professor Rhodri Thomas found that travel agents and tour operators are currently in line with other industries when it comes to offering flexible working.

Out of 85 travel companies interviewed last year, 48% offered staff the chance to work part time, 27% allowed staff to use flexitime and 12% offered the chance to take a career break or sabbatical.

Companies who measure the results find that flexible working has a positive effect on staff motivation, customer services, staff retention and productivity. They also see benefits in their recruitment processes and fewer staff absences.

However, Thomas said there was a danger employers would forget these benefits as they come under pressure from the economic downturn.

He said: “Some employers may become more flexible because they need to in a challenging market. However others may feel it’s not a priority for them and that would be disappointing.

“If flexibility does enhance productivity and motivation, then during challenging times managers should be looking at this as part of their wider strategies.”

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