Flexible working practices could increase business efficiency, according to a government report published today.The Equal Opportunities Commission's (EOC) document, 'Working outside the box', revealed that half the working population wanted to work more flexibly.According to the report, overly inflexible work practices are forcing people to work at levels below their skill-level so that they can have leisure time. Outdated work culture is adding to the skills waste, with rush-hour traffic and rigid work hours cited as key problems.Nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of employees said that they were not aware of jobs where flexible working practices were available. In reposes, the report recommended that employers begin a dialogue with their staff to explain what flexibility is available in the job.Jenny Watson, the chair of the EOC, explained the problem, saying: "Failing to rethink the way we've traditionally organised work is a chronic waste of talent."The benefits of flexibility are a two-way street. Some pioneering employers are leading the way using technology and better management to make a difference. They have changed their work culture and report better staff engagement and increased productivity as a result," she continued.These findings come after the Guardian reported that 80 per cent of workers would rather work less and spend more time with their families.© Adfero Ltd