Flexible working gains ground

Working from home

Working away from the office is slowly gaining acceptance among small businesses, according to new research from Citrix and YouGov.

The survey of 200 UK-based SMEs reports 63 per cent of senior executives say they trust their employees to remain productive when working away from the office.

The growing acceptance of flexible working among senior teams shows managers are now realising the commercial advantages it offers.

A further 28 per cent of those polled also agreed enabling staff to work flexibly can play an important role in improving their work-life balance, making them less likely to miss important deadlines.

Overall, a quarter of executives report being under more pressure to introduce or increase mobile, flexible working practices than they were five years ago, predominantly due to employee demand (28 per cent) and the need to reduce budget such as travel costs (17 per cent) increase.

While some executives were less trusting when it came to allowing employees to work outside of the office, 21 per cent still conceded that having a flexible working policy makes sense for business continuity.

In fact, research from videoconferencing service provider UCi2i earlier this year indicated that companies lose an annual average of 24 days of extra working hours by not allowing employees to work from home a result of home over-workers' who work more than five hours more per week than their office-based colleagues.

When asked why working from home is so successful, reasons that were given included: peace and quiet for productivity (26 percent), spending the time they would be travelling to the office, working (18 percent) and allowing the ideal work/life balance (13 percent).

"As well as meeting demand to improve individuals' work-life balance, the growing acceptance of flexible working among senior teams shows managers are now realising the commercial advantages it offers," says Andrew Millard, senior director marketing, EMEA, SaaS division at Citrix.

"In the BYOD era, employees using virtual technologies can work just as effectively away from the office as they would within it in most cases contributing to lower travel and office costs for the business."


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