Flexible working is becoming more widespread, more socially acceptable, and is steadily being implemented more successfully.
A survey by UK-based managed communications services provider Maintel shows that the multi-generational workforce has vastly differing preferences when it comes to working in the office.
It asked 1,000 employed adults in the UK, who were aged 18 and over to complete its poll in early 2017.
It found that 48 percent of those aged under 35 feel that they are most productive when they are in the office. However, only 19 percent of respondents aged above 55 agree.
Reasons for this dichotomy are varied. Younger workers might need face-to-face support of experienced co-workers. The survey showed that 28 percent found getting hold of colleagues or managers a challenge when working remotely.
It may also be due to the social aspects of office life, and when seeking promotions. Younger workers might need to ensure that they are seen to be doing valuable work.
Alternatively, older employees have responsibilities at home, and remote working allows them to be more efficient with their time.
Document and print technology company Konica Minolta recently released a report: “The Digital Workplace Initiative”. The report outlines how small distractions, aging hardware, clunky software, and rigid workplaces all add up to lost productivity for businesses.
It surveyed 100 senior IT decision makers, and 1,000 office workers at the start, and end of 2016.
According to the report, employees’ main barriers to maintaining peak performance are interruptions, computer problems, and problems accessing data when working away from their desks.
The top three Digital Workplace Initiative projects are enabling effective mobile working (62 percent), enabling effective remote working (56 percent), and improving collaborative working technology (49 percent).
Rufus Grig, CTO at Maintel, said “Rather than forcing the blanket adoption of either home working or office working, companies must have flexibility to allow employees to work where they feel most productive and ensure they have the right tools to keep in touch wherever they are.
“By doing so, they can expect a boost in employee performance, recruitment and retention — and of course a more streamlined and efficient machine.”
Obviously, one size does not fit all when it comes to planning staff management. Finding ways to encourage employees to reach peak productivity means being flexible about remote working.
Using digital technology to help employees achieve optimal performance could increase productivity significantly. Letting people embrace flexible working — if they want to — will increase employee productivity, wherever they choose to work, whatever age they are.