Saturday, 22 July 2017

Nearly half of UK office workers free to work from home

Virgin Media Business
Wednesday 17 July 13

Having a more connected and collaborative workforce is the Holy Grail for most business managers. And if you believe the hype, accessing emails on our smartphones, ‘IM-ing’ colleagues, and working from home is pretty much the norm. But new research from Virgin Media Business shows that less than half of us (48 per cent) are able to work from home and on the move. The findings emerged in a study carried out with 500 UK CIOs and business leaders…

Having a more connected and collaborative workforce is the Holy Grail for most business managers. And if you believe the hype, accessing emails on our smartphones, ‘IM-ing’ colleagues, and working from home is pretty much the norm. But new research from Virgin Media Business shows that less than half of us (48 per cent) are able to work from home and on the move.

The findings emerged in a study carried out with 500 UK CIOs and business leaders, and showed that although 7 in 10 organisations believe their employees would be far happier at work and more productive given the ability to work from home and on the move. In fact, 40 per cent of those surveyed said that they often overhear staff complaining about being tied to their desk. However, organisations are being held back and nearly half are reluctant to introduce more choice because of security concerns.

This nervousness around giving employees more flexibility is not just having an impact on employee work life balance, but could hold businesses back from being more creative, collaborative and innovative. More than 1 in 3 business leaders and CIOs surveyed stated that working closer together would be a direct benefit of a more flexible way of working, while over 50 per cent felt that it would actually improve work attendance.

It’s encouraging that there are plenty of trailblazing organisations embracing different working practices and fostering better internal collaboration. The overwhelming majority of CIOs and business decision makers agreed that giving their staff devices that could answer email, send files, make calls and communicate with others via IM on the go would boost employee engagement. With happy and motivated staff, organisations can reduce rates of absenteeism and drive down the sky high costs often associated with recruitment, providing a welcome boost to their bottom line.

CIOs were also asked what technology they’d most like to see introduced into the workplace. Wireless access to files over a 3G connection was at the top of the technology wish list, closely followed by the integration of voice and data over a single network. This was followed by wireless Local Area Network access and Instant Messaging which came in fourth.

Duncan Higgins, director of product and marketing, Virgin Media Business, said: “CIOs have told us a big hurdle for change is ironically the people who can help bring it about. By dealing with loads of different suppliers, CIOs have little wriggle room to come up with new policies as it’s too difficult to implement them. There’s real desire to simplify the whole IT infrastructure by reducing the number of IT suppliers. By doing so, CIOs will be in a better position to become the masters of their own destiny and implement the flexible working ideas they know can help their business.

People are happier and more productive when they’re given the tools they need to do their job, wherever they happen to be. In the past, employers have imposed monochrome, inflexible rules which haven’t allowed staff to work in a way that lets them flourish. CIOs now clearly see there’s an opportunity to encourage a new connected collaboration culture which capitalises on people’s preferences.”


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