Majority of employers support flexible working but perception problems persist

flexible work

As we reported last week, the Millennial generation of workers born in the 80s and 90s would describe work as a “thing rather than a place”, and want more flexibility in where and how they work. While the Yahoo home working ban debate uncovered a lot of exasperation and suspicion towards this trend, it’s interesting to see two separate studies, from the UK and the U.S. that show a far less combative attitude. But, as the U.S study discovered, while a majority of employees enjoyed real productivity benefits from home working, nearly half would still go into the office because it is what is expected of them and a small percentage still go because it gets them out of the house.

In the UK, where the government plans to extend the right to request flexible working, a study by XpertHR, Flexible working policies and practice: 2013 found that eight employers out of 10 would agree to the majority of flexible working requests from employees, with 79 per cent of respondents granting between 75 per cent and 100 per cent of requests from employees to work flexibly, and almost half (48 per cent) with up to 20 per cent of their staff working flexibly.

There is a similar positive attitude by employers to home working in the U.S., as according to a study conducted by uSamp on the office cultures and habits of 1,000 business professionals across the United States, 65 per cent of companies allow employees to work remotely versus 35 per cent that do not.

A majority of employees, 67 per cent, feel that they are more productive when working remotely as opposed to seven per cent who feel unproductive and 69 per cent of professionals report that working remotely is liberating. However, despite these productivity gains, 47 percent of workers still go into the office because it is what is expected of them.

“We have seen that with the advances in technology, it is easier than ever for employees to perform their jobs at a high level while working remotely,” said Matt Dusig, Co-founder & CEO, uSamp.

In addition to uncovering these perceptions, the study also found:

  • 69 per cent of large companies allow employees to work remotely.
  • Only 27 per cent of employees actually take advantage of the privilege.
  • 70 per cent of government employees work remotely with occasional office hours.
  • Only 12 per cent of those in education are allowed to work remotely.

Other factors motivating workers to go into the office include:

  • 23 per cent of professionals prefer to have face -to-face encounters; 73 per cent of those are from large companies.
  • 18 per cent report going into the office to be more productive.
  • 9 per cent purport to be team players.
  • 3 per cent just want to get out of the house.

To view the full results from this office culture study in an infographic, visit the following link.

By Sara Bean