Out-dated notions of flexible working

Out-dated notions of flexible working risks UK productivity, warns Outsourcery

Research from Microsoft finds slow uptake of flexible working since Flexible Working Directive came into force, in spite of widely-reported benefits.


... the technology solutions available just weren’t enough to allow staff to communicate and work in the way that they could in the office. That simply isn’t the case today Piers Linney, Co-CEO of Outsourcery

UK businesses are damaging their competitiveness and productivity levels by neglecting to let their staff work flexibly according to leading Cloud Services Provider Outsourcery. By taking the time to understand the communication tools that are available – and perhaps already being purchased by the IT department – business leaders will be more likely to accept remote and flexible working principles.

Research from Microsoft, released on the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Flexible Working Directive in the UK, suggests that in spite of the new legislation, a significant proportion of organisations still operate inflexible employment policies. Over half (55 per cent) of British workers surveyed stated they were still required by their organisations to work from the office within designated working hours, while 44 per cent said it was not possible to work remotely under any circumstances.

Commenting on the research findings, Piers Linney, Co-CEO of Outsourcery, said: “Up until only a few years ago, working from home used to be a euphemism for waking up late, sending a few strategically-timed emails and clocking off early. Even for those employees with good intentions, the technology solutions available just weren’t enough to allow staff to communicate and work in the way that they could in the office. That simply isn’t the case today. However, it’s clear from Microsoft’s research that, in spite of the benefits reported by businesses that employ mobile working, a good number of business leaders are still reluctant to go down that route. The result can be a culture of presenteeism, but the equation that if you’re in the office you must be working just doesn’t add up anymore.

“As business leaders, we need to shift our focus from input to output and achievements. Giving staff an element of freedom to work how and when they need to, with flexibility on location too, pays dividends and is key to achieving competitive advantage, attracting the best staff and improving productivity. Technology – more specifically cloud technology – is key to achieving this.

"CEOs will often not be aware of the range of tools available to make remote working as productive, if not more so, compared to office-based working. Many organisations purchase comprehensive communications packages – like Microsoft’s Office 365 or its latest Unified Communications offering, Skype for Business – but then only use a small fraction of the functionality, like email. These companies are sitting on an easy win to increase employee productivity,” Linney concluded.


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