UK businesses that don’t offer flexible working will struggle to attract and retain top talent, according to new research from UC EXPO, part of Europe’s number one IT enterprise event series.
The research, conducted amongst 1000 UK office workers, found that job roles offering flexible working are more likely to attract a better candidate, with 82% of workers saying they would be more likely to take a job that offered flexible working benefits. An additional 71% said that the offer of flexible working would help businesses to attract a greater international talent pool.
Flexible working more important than a free breakfast
The research finds that the benefits of flexible working are more widely recognised than a year ago, with a fifth (22%) of those surveyed having worked at home or remotely more throughout 2015 than in 2014. With over a quarter (27%) of UK workers now regularly working outside the office, the majority cite happiness as the biggest benefits. Nine in 10 (90%) feel that it is essential in maintaining a better work/life balance and 88% believe staff would be happier overall. In fact, two-thirds (67%) said they’d prefer the ability to work remotely over free breakfast every day!
Productivity concerns around employees working from home is decreasing, with over two-thirds (67%) believing that productivity levels either increase or stay the same when they work remotely.
UK workers see remote and flexible working as a right
Despite the general consensus that flexible working tools and technologies are vital in ensuring employee happiness and job satisfaction, an alarming two-fifths (39%) of workers aren’t aware of their right to request flexible working from their employer, despite fact that there is a law in place. Whilst this has decreased from 50% who said they were not aware of the right last year, many companies, and employees, still aren’t reaping the benefits of flexible working.
But workers are in full agreement that they should have the right to request flexible working, with three-quarters (74%) saying they also want to be given the right to request remote working too.
The workplace of the future – goodbye, 9-5
Over two-thirds (68%) of office workers believe that new collaboration and remote working technologies will eventually substitute office working. With 29% of Brits now working flexible hours, the traditional 9-5 is declining rapidly.
Bradley Maule-ffinch, Director of Strategy for UC EXPO, says:
“With a growing workforce of digital natives – not to mention multiple obstacles such as travel strikes in cities such as London – it’s not surprising that people favour a flexible approach to their work. Employers need to keep up with their staff’s technology and working preferences in order to retain them. At this year’s UC EXPO, we’ll be hosting panels, discussions and keynotes on how businesses can use unified communications & collaboration technologies to connect staff globally better than ever before and reap huge business benefits.”
The annual UC EXPO event, taking place at London’s Olympia, will showcase the real benefits of adopting unified communications technologies – such as Skype for Business and Google for Work – not only for employees, but for the company as a whole.