Employees allowed to work flexibly thanks to unified communications (UC) solutions are more likely to be healthier and more productive according to a survey from research consultancy Dynamic Markets, commissioned by UC supplier Avaya.
The study, ‘Flexible Working 2009’ , obtained the views of more than 3,500 workers across France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the UK and found that flexible working could save almost an hour and a quarter every day lost in a daily commute to work.
Flexible working was defined as a situation in which employees are not expected to work during set hours or from their desks but are instead able to set their own flexible working hours and to work from the location they choose.
The report says that businesses are losing out not only on competitive advantage through higher productivity, but also on creating a more fulfilled workforce, better able to balance the demands of personal and professional lives.
Of those who do work flexibly, the survey found that almost a fifth (19%) work this way five days a week, with another 16% working flexibly ‘as and when’. More part-time employees work flexibly than those in full-time jobs: 75% compared with 64%. Currently, only 9% of workers currently did not have to commute and just over a quarter (27%) said they were happy to work whilst commuting, if they had the capability.
Raising the fears of management suspicious of what flexible working could entail, 56% of the survey said the time reed up through not commuting this way would largely be spent with the family (56%) or to relax (45%).
However, just over two-fifths said that they would use the time to attend appointments and complete tasks that they would usually do in work time and just more than one fifth would use e the additional time to do more work.
Commenting on the role UC could play in delivering a more productive workforce, Michael Bayer, president of field operations, Avaya EMEA, said, “Unified communications solutions can help companies to make flexible working easy for employees. This report shows that it not only supports green initiatives but provides employees with greater control over their working lives. The reduction in commuting that results has a huge positive impact for the individual and the environment – but it’s the financial consequences that are most interesting.
“The effect of increased productivity and the extra time spent working by a dedicated one fifth of employees could have a profound impact on European businesses. Extrapolate this up to the level of the economy and you can imagine flexible working as a turbo-charge for productivity across the region.”