Mobile working is apparently on the decline, as fears over jobs and the economy drive UK workers back into the office to be "seen to be doing their job ".
Research commissioned by Microsoft shows that the percentage of firms claiming to offer some form of mobile working has dropped from nearly 60 per cent in 2007 to just under 50 per cent today.
Around 13 per cent of respondents said that mobile working is actively discouraged in their organisation, and only 10 per cent of workers believe that they have the freedom to work remotely as part of their day-to-day job.
"It is a depressing, if unsurprising, situation," said Microsoft spokesman James McCarthy.
"Economic uncertainty is undoubtedly sapping business confidence. Senior managers seem reluctant to try new things, while employees are perhaps understandably adopting a 'presenteeism' mentality in case troubled times arrive."
McCarthy believes that this can become a "self-fulfilling prophecy" given that mobile working is shown to increase productivity, improve worker satisfaction and reduce costs, all the things a business needs during uncertain economic conditions.
Despite an overwhelming belief that being able to work remotely helps all employees do more with their day, senior managers are still three times more likely to be able to work remotely than other employees.
A quarter of senior staff said that they would leave their job within six months if they could not work remotely.
However, the report also found that most senior managers have no major concerns with employees working remotely.
Issues concerning 'standard of work' were the main concern cited by managers when asked what risks they associate with a more mobile workforce, but more than 30 per cent said that they saw no risks at all.
However, many employees are adopting a "jackets-on-seats" approach regardless of their company's official policy on mobile working, according to McCarthy.
"The economic conditions compared to this time last year are vastly different," he said.
"With worries over rising fuel costs, falling house prices, the global credit crunch and a general worsening of market conditions, we shouldn't be surprised that innovation in how we look at our working lives has taken a back seat.
"But the message is clear: with the challenges that lie ahead British businesses should make mobility a priority rather than an afterthought."
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