Should more employers offer option of remote working?

Almost two thirds of workers would like to work remotely to achieve greater flexibility in the workplace, research has revealed. A survey by Kingston University and the pollster Ipsos MORI found 62% of UK employees would like to work remotely or telecommute at least part of the week.


The study showed the desire to work from home or while on the move was especially high among those aged 45-65 - only 30% would prefer to work in the office every day.


Research by Kingston University/Ipsos MORI also found that workers on flexible contracts are emotionally more engaged and more satisfied with their work. A recent report by Vodafone showed 61% of companies saw profits increases after introducing flexible working while 83% said it had increased productivity.


As employees juggle work-life balances, being a flexible employer has never been more important. But what are the challenges and opportunities of offering flexible working?


 

Challenges


  • extra burdens on line management who will have to manage teams of remote and onsite staff

  • trusting workers replaces control

  • not all functions are suitable for remote working – task-oriented work is considered more suitable for this type of working

  • providing access to development and promotion opportunities to employees working flexibly

  • building the company’s culture when not all employees work together all the time

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Benefits


  • access to skilled workers who would otherwise not be able to take part in the world of work (carers, family commitments, older employees, etc)

  • some groups, such as older workers, may agree to continue working if they can change their work schedule to a more flexible one

  • flexible working may attract talent that would otherwise not consider applying

  • employees are happier and more productive and flexible working has lead to companies reporting fewer sick days taken and higher productivity levels

  • employers can save money through office rental savings