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Workplace Remote Flexibility - Say Goodbye to 9 to 5

4 Apr, 2016 By: Sand Sinclair, Editor

As ways of doing business keep evolving, so does the workforce that supports it. One area that sees increased flexibility is the option for off-site employees to work from remote or home offices. Remote workers and offices have been happening for a while, as supported by new research from Censuswide, and UC EXPO (as part of an IT enterprise event series). Accordingly, their global findings indicate that:

Research conducted among  1000 UK office workers found that job roles offering flexible working conditions are more likely to attract a better candidate, with 82% of workers saying they would be more likely to take a job that offered flexible working benefits. An additional 71% said that the offer of flexible working would help businesses to attract a greater international talent pool.  Interestingly, the U.S. is seeing similar numbers.

In fact, 67% said remote working is far more important than (the perk of) a daily free breakfast at work.  The research finds that the benefits of flexible working are more widely recognized than a year ago, with a fifth (22%) of those surveyed having worked at home or remotely more throughout 2015 than in 2014. With over a quarter (27%) of UK workers now regularly working outside the office, the majority cite happiness as the biggest benefits. Nine in 10 (90%) feel that it is essential in maintaining a better work/life balance and 88% believe staff would be happier overall.  Again, U.S. workers feel similar to their European counterparts.

In addition, concerns about productivity levels from employees working from home is decreasing, with over two-thirds (67%) of management believing that productivity levels either increase or stay the same when employees do work remotely.

Despite the general consensus that flexible working tools and technologies are vital in ensuring employee happiness and job satisfaction, an alarming two-fifths (39%) of workers aren’t aware of their right to request flexible working from their employer, despite  the fact that there is a law in place in some regions.

Geographic Flexibility

Over two-thirds (68%) of office workers believe that new collaboration and remote working technologies will eventually substitute office working.  Currently, with nearly one third of employees now working flexible hours, the traditional 9-5 office hours schedule is declining rapidly.

Elaborating further on working remotely, Benjamin Koehne, with authors Patrick Shih and Judith Olson, University of California, Irvine, conducted research which revealed: 

Geographically distributed work has become a popular way to work remotely. Past CSCW research has shown that remote workers rely on innovative communication platforms but still face some challenges being remote. Research has also provided organizational and managerial strategies to bridge the distance gap. [Our] study in contrast investigates how individuals develop strategies to cope with the daily challenges of working remotely and alone, and what managers can do to help them. We interviewed seventeen individuals involved in remote work about their experiences, identifying unique challenges and their workarounds.  [Our] interview results suggest that, although people may work alone, the process of conducting distributed work is actually very social.  However, individual remote workers can establish a unique kind of work rhythm, visibility management for evaluation, social support infrastructure, and personal connection as a part of their coping strategies to balance their professional and personal lives.

In addition, IEEE Internet Computing/IEEE Explore report that: Telework could potentially offer significant savings on fuel, office space, and carbon emissions, improve productivity and morale and even reduce the outflow of US jobs overseas. Many companies have enthusiastically embraced it, but for some, there are pitfalls. It appears that the public sector, especially the federal government, is behind on deploying telework opportunities. The challenges of setting up office system replicas in homes or telecenters can be significant depending on sector, market or government involvement. Yet the payoffs, measured in productivity gains and real estate savings alone, could make the investment pay off handsomely.

Also, TMCnet indicates that Mobile technology is greatly influencing the business workplace and workforce. Last year, IDC predicted that 75% of the US and nearly 40% of the global workforce would be mobile and signs indicate that the rate of mobile growth is only being accelerated by the advancement of cloud technology, improved security, and more reliable network access.

There are plenty of reasons that contribute to the mobile and/or remote workforce. Thus the verdict is in. For many in today’s business world it is “goodbye 9 to 5 hours - hello remote office.”   

About the Author: Sand Sinclair, Editor

Sand Sinclair, Editor

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