UK businesses see the benefit of flexible working but don’t trust their employees, a quarter of whom would give up a pay rise to get out of the office
More than a quarter of British employees would sacrifice a pay rise for the ability to work flexibly, but the absence of appropriate technology, policies and trust among firms is preventing workers from being productive outside of the office, new research has found.
Under new government legislation, any worker in the UK can request the ability to work flexibly and employees must deal with such applications in a “reasonable manner”. Requests can be rejected if there is a good reason but employers must hold a meeting with the applicant and there is an appeals process if the two parties disagree.
However a Samsung survey of 2,000 workers and 200 business owners suggests that legislation alone may not be enough to make flexible working a reality for many people.
More than half of business surveyed said they recognised they believed such initiatives would increase productivity, but 35 percent of respondents said the lack of clear policies was the biggest barrier while a third bemoaned the lack of investment in appropriate mobile technology.
But the so-called ‘trust gap’ appears to less easy to solve, with 28 percent of firms saying they didn’t have confidence in their workers to maintain standards away for the office, and 31 percent said it wasn’t their responsibility to provide tools and policies for flexible working.
“Flexible working has come a long way in the last few years, but ingrained cultural attitudes for ‘being seen in the office’ or worries over productivity are commonplace, as this study reveals,” says Graham Long, vice president of Samsung’s UK Enterprise Business Team. “There is clearly a huge appetite for flexible working, and during winter, it makes business sense for employees to be not only equipped with the tools to work wherever they may be, but also feel that their employers trust them to do so. “
“With the winter weather now upon us, it’s essential that UK businesses overcome the ‘trust gap’ to allow enterprises and employees to reap the benefits of a well-regulated flexible working model.”
Earlier this year, research from O2 Business found that nearly half of workers already work flexibly to some extent, claiming they find non-office environments productive and appreciate the change in scenery.
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