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It would appear anyone looking for flexible working hours has a better chance with a big business or a very small one.

New research funds about only half of small and medium-sized firms offer flexible working arrangements compared with almost three-quarters of bigger businesses, which are embracing modern working practices.

The survey of 350 respondents by business software provider MYOB also found two-thirds of micro businesses – up to four employees – offer some form of flexibility.

‘Business owners see the benefits of flexible working arrangements on their own lives but aren’t always passing on these benefits to employees,’ MYOB head Tim Reed said.

Earlier MYOB research showed Australian business owners ranked flexibility as a high priority for themselves, with two in five saying they started a business to control their own destiny and one-third saying they wanted the flexibility to do ‘what they want, when they want’.

While offering employees flexibility could add to the complexity of running a business, it also brought great benefits including increased morale, reduced burnout and increased trust within their workplace, Mr Reed said.