Companies need to offer more flexible working opportunities to attract employees and freelance workers from diverse backgrounds, according to a leading diversity and inclusion expert.

Charlotte Sweeney has revealed that changing the perception of home working and flexible working options could be the key to making businesses attractive to people from a wide range of backgrounds, who may not want their work to be entirely office based.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Ms Sweeney said: "There’s still the perception in lots of companies that if you’re not physically in the office then you’re not working."

She added: "That’s one of the biggest challenges we need to tackle and companies need to focus on people’s outputs and the impacts they are having on the business."

According to Ms Sweeney, companies should "get smarter" in order to increase the performance of their workers, which could mean setting clear objectives for all workers and making sure everyone is clear on what they should deliver.

She also cited gender imbalance as a cause for concern, with many women still reportedly facing barriers within both recruitment and promotion processes that could hinder their progress, such as a desire for unnecessary degrees or lack of flexible working practices. "We need to focus more on how we remove those barriers," she said.

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