A survey carried out by Vision Critical has revealed that over half of office workers in the UK never work from home, with over a third not given the opportunity to work remotely by their employers.
The survey of 2,000 office workers across the UK found that 35% stated the ability to work remotely would make their life easier. This highlights an increasing gap between business policy and worker demands at a time when the ability to work flexibly could become a key driver in boosting staff productivity and overall business efficiency for the British economy.
The survey aims to highlight the impact that technology and remote working can have on both businesses and the work lives of UK office workers, both of which can help improve employee’s work/life balance and productivity. With Christmas fast approaching, and winter drawing in, the number of people who plan to work remotely or from home over the holidays is surprisingly low.
Winter weather, poor mobile technology such as out-of-date smartphones and laptops, and slow connectivity all affect the ability to work remotely or from home. This highlights the increasing importance for organisations to address these needs, in order to maintain productivity and employee churn.
Over a third of respondents said the ability to work from home would make their life easier, yet half said they never work from home. The survey highlights the widening gulf between this demand for remote working and the lack of recognition of this need by employers – to provide mobile working technologies, such as laptops and webmail, to help employees stay in touch with the office and replicate the working environment in their home.
In recent years the desire to work more flexibly is steadily increasing, coinciding with the rise in technology to facilitate this. Bad weather, a rise in the number of families with both parents working, and an increase in commuters as UK city populations rise have all played a part in fighting the case for the increased need to work more flexibly.
However, with a third of employees surveyed stating that they aren’t afforded this option by their employer, and a further third stating that they don’t plan on staying in touch with their office during the Christmas period, a startling trend has emerged. This shows that the limitations can stretch beyond having the option to work more flexibly to also include the technology and facilities available to them to enable them to work effectively.
The survey also looked at the impact of technology on the lives of UK office workers, with 38% of respondents admitting that better technology would be the one thing that would help them to save time and work more productively. The ability to work from home using up-to-date technology is one such element that UK office workers are keen to stress.
The importance of technology in the workplace is something that we are all aware of, but there are still some businesses stuck in the slow lane when it comes to enabling remote working. Technologies such as decent smartphones, laptops and tablets all enable employees to recreate the office environment at home and increase the productivity as well as the efficiency of the business overall.
There are huge benefits to be had for both employees and employers with remote working, which can create a more relaxed and happy workforce, and keep businesses running even in the worst of situations.