When the Flexible Working Policy was introduced in June 2014, many of us jumped for joy at the prospect of better fitting our working patterns around our personal lives. Working parents also breathed a sigh of relief knowing they would be able to request hours to suit their childcare schedule. Unfortunately, it seems reality hasn’t quite lived up to people’s expectations: it’s been almost a year since the policy’s introduction and UK businesses are failing to meet the demand for flexible working arrangements.
UC Expo 2015 has surveyed 1,000 British workers for its State of the Unified Communications and Collaboration Nation survey and found that 80% of UK employees felt that flexible working should be an option for all. But, despite this, it seems two thirds of businesses have failed to provide the tools and technologies required to make this a reality.
The survey revealed 48% of employees felt that flexible working arrangements would lead to increased productivity, whilst 50% of workers felt they would be happier at work if they had the option to work remotely. There’s seemingly no argument on this from the boys and girls at the top: 64% of c-suite executives agreed that if employees were able to work flexibly, company productivity would see a boost. Additionally, 80% of c-level executives felt that flexible working would attract a better quality of employees and potential candidates.
So what’s the hitch? It seems employers fear the security risks entailed in flexible working; 72% of employers surveyed felt that the security of employees using their own devices for work was their biggest issue with flexible working. Additionally, 45% of employers felt that the cost and complexity of implementing the technologies that enable flexible working were too high, whilst 45% felt that their employees would slack off if given the option to work remotely.
Bradley Maule-ffinch, director UC Group at Imago Techmedia, said: “The workplace is changing dramatically and enterprise mobility is becoming a more pervasive reality. The survey shows clear trends that employees are ready for flexible working and that businesses realise the need to be more flexible in their offerings to attract the best and brightest digital natives. It is vital businesses implement the appropriate technology, to not only solve the immediate business concerns of today but the demands of a new generation of workers and business issues of tomorrow.“
It seems soon employees will truly be able to tailor their working hours around their lifestyle preferences and productivity peaks. But there are still one or two fine details to work out before we get to that point.