More than half of UK HR directors surveyed believe that remote and flexible working arrangements have resulted in increased productivity in their organisation.
A study conducted by Robert Half has found that nearly two-thirds of HR directors (63%) believe that a flexible working environment has a positive impact on their business. Over half of the respondents (51%) believe that practices such as remote working and flexi-time boost creativity, whilst 45% believe that it makes employees easier to manage.
These findings suggest that any concerns an employer may have about flexible or remote working negatively affecting productivity are unfounded.
Overall the number of UK businesses that have adopted flexible or remote working arrangements has increased by more than a third (37%) in the last three years. The public sector is leading the way in that regard as the prevalence of flexible working arrangements has risen by almost half (47%) over that period. The private sector follows a similar trend although at a slower rate, with an increase of only a third.
There are some stark regional divisions in the findings. The Midlands leads the way with 55% of employers reporting an increase in flexible working within the last three years, closely followed by 53% of employers from London. However Northern England, Scotland and Wales only saw increases of between 18% and 35%.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director of Robert Half, said “Just because employees are at their desks in the office doesn’t mean they are always working productively.”
“Employees can work just as effectively remotely, especially now that advancements in technology have enabled us to share files, communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects, without the added burden of a commute or distractions in the office. With UK businesses facing a skills shortage, companies need to consider offering a positive working environment that supports the needs of a modern workforce in order to attract and retain top talent.”
A 2014 CIPD report found that 35% of employees would like to change their working arrangements whilst 43% would like to change their start or finish times. As the internet continues to make remote working simple, more employers may find that flexible arrangements bring benefits to their business.