More than a third of Brits claim their companies still do not offer flexible working
Furthermore, 39% of respondents said they would be more loyal to the business, and 24% who would recommend their place of work to a friend or peers, if flexible working expectations were met.
It appears that being constrained by working in a designated office environment is a source of frustration for today’s knowledge worker. Over a quarter of respondents (28%) say they don’t care where they work. And a remarkable 40% of respondents confirmed that they would find it a major liberation and improvement to their professional life, if they could work entirely outside of the office. This could be because 51% of all respondents feel their colleagues and interruptions get in the way of doing their jobs. Other common challenges of working effectively in a corporate environment also include: commuting (30%), poor quality equipment (22%) and poor communication infrastructure with colleagues that work remotely (14%).
“Employees are serious about finding better work life integration,” said Robert Keenan, Head of Portfolio Management, at Unify UK & Ireland. “Last year, Volume 4 of Unify’s NW2W (New Way to Work) Index revealed that nearly half of all employees would have chosen a flexible working arrangement over a pay raise, and almost a third revealed that they would change employers if offered flexible work elsewhere. For those employers that are serious about attracting and maintaining the best talent, it is time to start enabling new ways of working amongst employees.”
Part one of Unify’s Humanising the Enterprise study surveyed more than 1,500 UK-based business consumers between the ages of 16-55. The study showed remote working to be an integral part of professional life today, with well over a quarter of respondents (29%) stating that they worked remotely at least once a week. In fact, two in every five (39%) of all employees identified their homes as one of the most productive places to work - which gives credence to an increasing move to flexible working.
Minimising distractions are crucial for productivity. 31% of respondents would switch off email to avoid distraction at work. This was followed by instant messaging (27%) and social networks (26%). Yet, interaction with people and teams matter. Combined, 55% of employees think that regular face-to-face contact with colleagues and clients, along with the ability to share ideas and get real-time feedback, to be the most important elements of working with their teams.
“Flexible working is here to stay. More and more employees will be striving to achieve what they consider to be their perfect version of work/life integration. It is up to employers to find ways of enabling new ways of working while still ensuring that employees remain connected to each other and their clients,” continued Keenan. “Communication and collaboration technology has come on leaps and bounds in a few short years, and it is from within the consumer sphere that these advancements have been driven. Traditional enterprise communications infrastructure has to catch up fast if employers hope to keep employees engaged and productive. Implementing a strategic flexible working policy, and finding the right collaboration technology, such as Unify’s Circuit, to support this, is one potential method of bridging this gap between employee expectation and company’s delivering on work/life integration requests.”