Lower level workers missing flexible working tools

Remote worker

Lower level employees are not being given the same remote working tools as senior execs, a report has indicated.

Chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed by Opinion Matters, for research sponsored by Vodafone, indicated 82 per cent of their senior management team have a work smartphone, while only one in three junior managers have such a device.

Two-thirds of senior managers have a Wi-Fi enabled work laptop, compared to just four in ten junior managers, the study also indicated.

Furthermore, almost half of corporate and public sector workers polled said they had not been given the communications tools required for remote or flexible working.

Vodafone said the results indicated "a stratified communication tool hierarchy in place throughout the UK's corporate and public sector organisations."

The findings appeared to be at odds with the rise of remote working, with 28.2 million employees expected to have the ability to go mobile by 2014, the report noted.

"People are now expecting to be able to work where they want to work," said Jeni Mundy, chief technical officer (CTO) at Vodafone UK, speaking at Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury today.

"IT needs to enable this to happen."

However, flexible working is much more than about the technology and companies need to instill the right culture if they want to offer flexible working, Mundy added.

"This is what will really bring the technology to life," she said.

The security factor

Mundy also noted the security obligations that are placed on companies who wish to offer remote working capabilities.

Companies need to find the balance between productivity and security, not giving employees "hundreds of passwords," but providing the right amount of protection.

"People are used to working remotely now," she said.

"Our responsibility is to ensure ... our businesses are secure."

Two-thirds of the 210 CIOs polled said securely improving workforce mobility was a priority, whilst improved security generally was cited by 38 per cent as one of the items at the top of their agendas.

Compliance was higher up the list, with 49 per cent ranking it as a business priority.

Currently, almost two-thirds of a business' data leaves the office, indicating there is a clear need to protect remote devices.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.