Lancashire SMEs urged to take part in business survey

A professor at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has called upon Lancashire SMEs to take part in a new region-wide business survey which could end up helping them increase their flexibility in order to adapt better to tough economic conditions.
Phillip Whyman, professor of Economics at UCLan, and Dr. Alina Petrescu, are running the survey on behalf of the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research (LIEBR), within the Lancashire Business School at UCLan.
He said: “It’s been a tough few years for a lot of businesses, particularly SMEs, and so we hope that spreading best practice examples about how firms may utilise flexible workplace practices may help them to survive and thrive in the future, whilst helping policymakers understand how they can support the SME business community.
“This is why we are running the survey, and the more SMEs we can get to complete the short survey, the more we hope to be able to provide assistance to the local community, helping to ensure that business expertise and success stays in Lancashire.”
The survey seeks to analyse and aid the spread of best practice and hence equip SMEs during the economic recovery. It focuses upon workplace flexibility practices, which are practices that enable organisations to adapt to their economic environment. Examples include part-time working, flexitime, skills development, job autonomy, and pay and pension adjustments.
The survey is being supported by the Forum of Private Business, the Federation of Small Businesses, Preston City Council, and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
To fill in the survey, businesses – with fewer than 250 employees - can visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/SME2011 before the deadline on Wednesday September 28. The results will then be analysed by the LIEBR and be presented later this year.
This survey is in its second stage, the first having been conducted at the height of the recession, in 2009. Findings from the 2009 SME research can be found by visiting www.uclan.ac.uk/lancashiresmesresearch
The results highlighted examples of best practice, and indicated relationships between certain flexibility practices and indicators of business performance.
The second stage of the research will review if there are any changes to these practices as the country begins the economic recovery.