A new industry survey commissioned by network operator Thus reveals that more than 80 per cent of SMBs now have remote working policies in place, however only 45 per cent of employees are taking advantage of the opportunity to work out of the office. Despite the low adoption rate, there has been a 45 per cent increase in demand for remote working, with SMBs stating that those who do work remotely enjoy greater flexibility, the opportunity to work in a quieter environment and less commuting, leading to an improved work-life balance.
The Thus survey reveals that technology issues are one of the main obstacles to the adoption of flexible working with out-of-hours support unavailable for 73 per cent of employees who are able to work from home. The survey also showed that 57 per cent of SMBs expect their employees to pay for some, if not all, of the technology required to work remotely.
Dan Cole, Head of Product Management at Thus, commented: “Our research confirms what we’re seeing in the marketplace. People want to work more flexibly. For example, with the right technology in place, working parents now have the choice to leave work earlier to spend time with their children and then continue working later in the evening from home. Similarly, business travellers can utilise communications solutions to access the company network regardless of location, providing them with a mobile office. It’s a case of SMBs recognising and accommodating this change.”
The poll also revealed that human factors have a big role to play, with a lack of team spirit and contact with colleagues commonly quoted as barriers to out of office work. Business psychologist, Kate Keenan commented: “For remote working to be effective, managers need to put a greater emphasis on employee communication and group activities to ensure there is a strong sense of team spirit. Businesses will also need to change their management style, to focus less on management by supervision and more on setting clearly defined objectives agreed between the employer and employee.”