Mobile computing drives flexible working boom

Huge shift in working practices driven by affordable mobile business technology

Research of 500 businesses and 4,500 employees commissioned by Orange has found that more companies across Britain are embracing flexible working than ever before.

The mobile business solutions supplier believes that the findings indicate a huge shift in the UK ’s working practices and signify the end of office presenteeism. Nearly two thirds (63%) of UK businesses now offer some type of flexibility to employees. Almost tree-quarters (72%) of UK businesses believe flexible working boosts company morale, and more than half think it improves productivity (53%) and staff retention (58%). Even though a quarter of firms currently offer their entire workforce the ability to work flexibly, more than a third (36%) still don’t offer any flexible working options at all. 

In terms of flexible working technology, 46% of flexible workers have been provided with a laptop, 35% a mobile phone, 29% a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and 23% broadband, but only 11% have been given a smart phone.  The findings also revealed a digital divide between male and female employees across the UK , with men 20% more likely to have access to the technology required to help them work flexibly.

Orange also believes that the research has uncovered a disconnect between the HR and IT departments, with 50% of workers who are allowed to work flexibly reporting that they are not provided with the necessary technology to do so effectively.

Explained Orange UK Vice President of Business Paul Tollet, “Flexible working doesn’t have to involve significant financial investment from business - just a clear policy to ensure it is offered fairly and a willingness to provide employees with the tools they need to get the job done. The cost of mobile solutions is decreasing, so there’s no reason for businesses to delay implementing flexible working practices and technology.”

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