V3 Enterprise Mobility Summit: The vast majority of UK workers still see the ability to work from home as a perk, rather than a basic expectation, according to a major Dell and Intel study.
The Global Evolving Workforce report found that, despite rapid technological changes, smartphones, cloud services and better connectivity - and new legal rules allowing staff to request flexible working - most UK workers expect to work in an office.
This means that businesses embracing flexible and home working can set themselves apart from the competition.
“For employers, offering flexibility to workers can be used to reward, retain and attract talent, as long as there is a favourable balance to promote productivity,” the study said.
One company that has moved in this direction is Xerox. The firm's European PC deployment manager, Raj Vekaria, said at a roundtable to discuss the survey results that the company as a whole is embarking on this shift.
“In Germany the whole office has moved into a small office to hot desk and everyone is home-based now too and the pattern is similar across Europe, including the UK,” he said, although admitting that the UK effort is “smaller.
However, despite this, a cultural view remains that home working is less productive. Some 33 percent of respondents said that working from home is less productive, compared with 16 percent who see it as more productive.
This suggests that the UK is more conservative in its views. The results from the global survey released late last year found that 52 percent of respondents believe that working from home makes people as productive, or more productive, than in the office.
Indeed, those who do work from home also see themselves as highly efficient. Fifty percent believe they are more efficient than office workers, and 36 percent believe they are as efficient. Only 14 percent believe they are not as efficient.
Despite the fact that home working is viewed as a perk, many in the UK are using technology to get more done when not in the office, perhaps suggesting that they do not see themselves as 'home workers', despite being so.
For example, 25 percent of UK respondents said they take work technology home to work remotely, and a further 15 percent expect to do this in the future. Another 30 percent use personal technology for work purposes, likely to be anything from reading emails at home to working on presentations.
In spite of this use of technology in different locations, UK workers remain loyal to their desktop machines. Over 70 percent of respondents said that a desktop is their primary work device.
Things are changing though, albeit slowly. The same study in 2011 found that 86 percent used a desktop. Furthermore, the percentage of people using a smartphone and tablet has risen by two percent, to 19 and seven percent respectively.
Aisling Keegan, Dell general manager and executive director, said it is clear that UK staff are more hesitant to embrace new forms of technology at work, which may appear surprising.
“Contrary to popular opinion the pace at which UK workers adopt technology is a little bit slower than other regions globally,” she said.
Indeed, the survey found that 74 percent of UK staff think that some jobs will always be done better by humans than by technology, higher than developed markets (65 percent) or emerging markets (45 percent).
For more information on home working and mobility register for V3's Enterprise Mobility Summit.
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