Culture is the Most Difficult Barrier to Adoption of Remote Working

UK employees name office culture as the main culprit for the slow adoption of remote working and green practices research from Interwise finds. Interwise, a supplier of voice, web and video conferencing for the enterprise, today announced the findings which are part of ongoing study into employee attitudes towards the changing work environment.
Thirty per cent of all respondents said that corporate culture was the barrier to their employers’ adoption of remote working practices and 25 per cent also cited the same reason for slow adoption of green initiatives.

“Culture could be the most difficult of all barriers to overcome, beyond technology or cost,” comments Tony Gasson, VP International, Interwise. “If business managers are not ready to lead a cultural shift, then technology can help them with positive, reassuring results. The overall remedy would be to use IP communications tools that have viral appeal and which are available for everyone to use like email. These tools need to be ubiquitously helpful for collaborating—even for employees that are located side-by-side, in the office.”

Gartner vice-president and fellow Diane Morello stated, “Companies which do not embrace remote working will find it difficult to recruit and retain staff. Corporates should respond to user pressure for presence-aware applications, social networking tools and wikis to support flexible working. IT organizations that attempt to shut down those tools for security and policy reasons alone will do so at the expense of their relevance and value.”

While connectivity, productivity and cost savings are major reasons for investing in tools that support remote and mobile workers, other benefits may prove to be just as valuable. Equipping a company with enterprise-wide conferencing and collaboration furthers corporate social responsibility progress through the reduction of travel-based carbon emissions. It also supplies a disaster recovery tool that is continually useful—before, during and after. Companies can easily implement stay-at-home policies in the event of a transportation or public health threat—without drastically disabling the business.

Other reason for slow uptake of remote working cited in Interwise’s research were lack of enabling technologies adopted in the work environment, reluctance to give up face-to-face social interaction and management distrust of remote workers. Only half of all employees said they were equipped to work remotely, despite their views that over half of the meetings they travel to, do not need to be in-person.