October 31, 2013
Flexible working practices don’t necessarily equate to working fewer hours. In fact, people are working increasingly longer hours as flexible working patterns consign the traditional 9-5 to history. A third of Britons are now working more than 10 hours a day, with a short or no break and are bringing work life into the home by responding to work emails, texts and calls in the evening. Research conducted by YouGov for business communications systems firm, RingCentral found that more than half (55%) surveyed now work more than 40 hours a week. As working patterns change, companies are seeing the importance of managing a geographically dispersed workforce (68%), and also believe that providing employees with the ability to work flexibly (78%) or from home (60%) are important for employee productivity levels.
While the European working time directive states that the maximum working week should be 48 hours long, the competitiveness of today’s business world and rising client expectations are causing our work patterns to extend longer. In fact, over half of businesses (51%) believe that customers are becoming more demanding when it comes to getting hold of the right person the first time and getting an urgent response to queries (55%).
The days of fixed office working hours are history. The research reveals that we are now much more open to working in locations other than the office, with 93% working from home for part of the week and 76% working while travelling. At the same time, with customers now expecting responses within just three hours, over three-quarters (77%) of us respond to work emails after 6pm while two-thirds (67%) of us answer work calls in the evening.
The way we work also affects productivity levels, with 93 per cent of employees stating that working from home is productive compared to 86 per cent who consider working in an open-plan office productive. Overall, employees are most productive when working from clients’ offices (95%).
Lars Nordhild Rønning, General Manager, EMEA at RingCentral UK, said, “Business life has changed dramatically, and companies need to embrace technology that can accommodate these changing work patterns, driven by mobility, agility and client responsiveness. Working life no longer relies on location and traditional office hours, but much more on the customer service you can provide clients, irrespective of where you are.”