Technology-enabled flexible working will increase as employers move away from the assumption that those that are at their desks longer are doing more work.
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If employers support flexible working it will inevitably take off because workers are demanding it and the technology to enable it is available.
According to research carried out by Vansone Bourne and a Kingston Business School report that accompanied it, almost 60% of employers do not consider how late employees stay in the office as an indication of how hard they are working.The research, which was sponsored by T-Mobile, also revealed that 46% of employers do not reward people for working late.
The survey was of 500 SME businesses.
Employees have been calling for flexible working opportunities for some time. Working outside the office is the future according to 78% of office workers surveyed by The Work Foundation and Microsoft last year.
Findings from the survey of 1080 people showed that more than half would be happier if there was a greater element of mobile working in their jobs and 16% said that they would actually leave their jobs within six months if their boss was not open to flexible working.
Christine Edwards, professor of human resource management at Kingston University, said the decision by the government to press ahead with plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children means employers need to consider its adoption.
She added that the economic downturn is a good time for firms to invest in mobile technology to enable flexible working. "During any economic climate, but particularly during a downturn, it is in the interest of businesses to ensure they are keeping their staff happy and productive. Employers need to ensure they offer the best mobile technology and support to make things as easy as possible for their mobile workforce."