They Would Say That Wouldn’t They?

A recent Polycom survey shows over half of UK office workers want tools for flexible working.

Polycom a leader in providing collaborative communications solutions, says new YouGov research it has commissioned that found a large majority (57%) of office workers would be happier and more productive if their employers offered them the flexibility and the right equipment to work from home.

Over 1,200 UK office workers across six industries were questioned in the study regarding how flexible working, daily commuting, and business travelling would affect their productivity and satisfaction in their jobs.

The survey found:

• Half (52%) of respondents feel they would be happier in their jobs if they could spend less time travelling to work since over a third (38%) of office workers spend two hours or more commuting each day
• Only one in five people (20%) say they have the choice to work from home as much as they can while one in seven actually do work from home and one in 10 are allowed to work flexibly
• A third of people who work in the IT or Telecoms industry (33%) are able to work from home as much as they like, while business, professional or management consultants proved to be the second most flexible sector (27 percent)
• Media, PR, marketing and advertising (71 percent) followed by those in banking, financial services and the insurance industry (60 percent) were the least happy about their choices of equipment and flexible working options
• Over one half (57%) percent) of people who travel for business say they are less productive as a result

“Our study shows commuting takes longer and is more stressful than it was five years ago and people are less happy with their jobs as a result,” said Steve Leyland, Managing Director for EMEA, Polycom. “On top of a continued rise in public transport and fuel costs, the UK’s workers are feeling more pressure in their daily lives. Polycom believes IT directors, managers and other decision makers can play a valuable role in examining cost effective ways to enable more flexible working practices. By taking positive steps, such as providing audio and video conferencing and collaboration technologies that will allow employees to work remotely or from home, businesses can increase employee productivity while improving job satisfaction.”

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) recently published a report which supports the findings of Polycom’s Congested Lives research. Half of the working population wants to work more flexibly – 52% of men and 48% of women. The EOC report also reveals that 6.5 million people in Britain today could be using their skills more fully if more flexible working were available.

Launched in May 2006, Work Wise UK (www.workwiseuk.org) is an initiative backed by the CBI and TUC, encouraging the widespread adoption of flexible, at home, mobile and remote working, in an effort to increase business productivity, reduce travel times and congestion, and improve the health of the workforce. It is working towards the long-term aim of having at least half the population working “smarter” within five years.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said: “The UK has not only one of the longest working weeks but the longest commute times in Europe. The social impact of work is considerable. The stress and health cost, as well as the impact on family life of these long hours, is huge. Changing working practices and working smarter is the only solution, enabling people to work more productively and at the same time improve their work-life balance by spending less time at work and travelling and more time at home. This workplace revolution will ultimately be on the same scale as the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and will have the same profound effect upon our lives.”