Many firms lack the trust, equipment and policies to offer flexible working

Businessman lieEven though many staff would forgo a wage increase if offered flexible working, a large number of employers still do not trust their employees to work flexibly, according to new research from Samsung. The survey of 2,000 employees and 200 business owners found that 28 percent of firms remain sceptical that employees are sufficiently trustworthy to work away from their main place of work and outside normal office hours. On a more positive note, over half (52 percent) of employers associate flexible working with greater productivity and more than a quarter of employees (27 percent) would prefer the chance to work flexibly than accept a pay rise. The report also raises serious questions about the preparedness of firms to offer flexible working, even if they believe in the idea, with many lacking the infrastructure and policies to allow them to do so.

The report claims that nearly a third (31 percent) of business owners do not believe they are responsible for equipping employees with the tools and processes for flexible working. Many also appear unable to implement flexible working policies due to lack of policy and funding, with more than a third (35 percent) feeling that vague policies remain a barrier to implementation.

Graham Long, Vice President of the Enterprise Business Team at Samsung UK said: “Flexible working has come a long way in the last few years, but ingrained cultural attitudes for ‘being seen in the office’ or worries over productivity are commonplace, as this study reveals. With the winter weather now upon us, it’s essential that UK businesses overcome the ‘trust gap’ to allow enterprises and employees to reap the benefits of a well-regulated flexible working model. There is clearly a huge appetite for flexible working, and during winter, it makes business sense for employees to be not only equipped with the tools to work wherever they may be, but also feel that their employers trust them to do so.”