As study after study come the defense of the remote workforce, today we hear the opposite from the other side of the pond. In the U.K. last June, legislation supporting flexibility in the workforce was passed and should have been enough to spur the growth of telecommuting, but unfortunately it has resulted in a tepid response.
The legislation calls for employers to in a “reasonable manner” review requests, and if there is good reason to allow the employee to work from home. If there is disagreement, the two can take part in an appeals process to find resolution.
The study I mentioned above was released by O2 (News - Alert) Business and illustrated some points of interest. As 54 percent of workers surveyed in the U.K. claim to have knowledge of the legislation only 23 percent are taking advantage of the policy. Respondents list hurdles like a lack of trust or culture in their place of employment, but surprisingly enough, the fifth hurdle on the list a lack of technology.
“It’s encouraging to see more people becoming aware of the right to request legislation since it came into force in June,” said Paul Lawton, general manager of SMB for O2 Business. “However, our research shows that the pressure to be seen in the office and a lack of tools to enable remote working are still preventing the benefits that working flexibly brings, such as improved morale, high levels of employer loyalty and productivity gains.”
The noted lack of technology is quite startling because conference call services like Web conferencing offer the same levels of collaboration and communication as though one were in the office.
Recent research by Samsung (News - Alert) outlines high demand for the ability to work remotely, as a quarter of respondents would gladly take a pay decrease for the perk.
Vodafone UK Enterprise Director Phil Mottram told techweekeurope.com, “Businesses need to equip employees with the tools required to do their job best, from wherever and on whatever device, therefore becomes more relevant,” and in many instances a lofty investment is not necessary. Some tools simply require an Internet connection to provide a team with what they need for optimal communication.
Telecommuting is a notion here to say, all arrows point to supporting this trend. If the British Parliament is supporting the enterprise to embrace the trend, it is fair to say time will tell a tale of a more remote workforce—especially with the cost savings associated with conference call services, building space and transportation.
Mottram noted, “This is a trend that is set to increase throughout 2015 as businesses of all kinds continue to look for ways to drive efficiencies, as economic conditions continue to be tough.”
Edited by Alisen Downey