UK bosses make 2014 the summer of love for flexible working

The Boardroom

by Michael Moore| 29 August 2014

Don’t expect the flexibility to last all year round though, workers warned.

The unusually warm British summer has led to companies embracing flexible working schemes more than ever before, research has found.

A survey of 2,000 business employees and 200 business owners found that this summer a quarter of UK businesses had implemented flexible working policies allowing staff to work from home.

The flexibility appeared to pay off, as 58% of employees and 48% of bosses said that such "summer perks" helped boost their productivity.

However, it seems that many bosses are still suspicious of flexible working schemes, with 28% saying that they wouldn't trust their employees to maintain this higher productivity if the same perks were on offer all year around.

A fifth of those surveyed blamed a lack of investment in technology for the lack of flexible working availability, although nearly a third also said they didn't think it was their responsibility to provide the necessary tools and technology.

This is despite such ideas being in high demand from employees, with the survey finding that over a quarter (27%) of office workers would chose a flexible working package over a pay rise.

"This year we've been lucky to have a nice, sunny summer but you can't always guarantee the sunshine in the UK," said Graham Long, VP of Samsung's Enterprise Business, which carried out the survey.

"That doesn't mean businesses should ignore the benefits flexible working can bring not just in summer but year round, as employees are clearly crying out for it. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has changed consumer expectations of their work environments. They now understand that they no longer need to be restricted to traditional work spaces to do their job and this translated into schemes such as bring your own device (BYOD)."

 

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