Procurement · 27 April 2016

Majority of British workers think they are more productive working from home

working from home
The ability to work from any location at any time was seen as the most important driver of productivity

New research carried out by The Economist Intelligence Group has revealed that more than 50 per cent of UK employees think they are more productive working from home – the highest proportion of any of the nine countries the research looked at.

Across almost 2,000 workers surveyed around the world, the ability to work from any location at any time was seen as the most important driver of productivity, with 49 per cent of respondents citing this important. Almost four-in-ten think this has a big impact on satisfaction too.

Those respondents who rated their employers highly for supporting the ability to work from any location gave themselves an average productivity score of 80 per cent — one-tenth higher than those who did not.

The report’s authors suggested that the explanation for the increase in productivity associated with working was that both remote working and flexible hours allow employees to manage their own time more effectively. “An employee’s life or work responsibilities may mean that the best time for them to focus on a particular task is at home at 6 am,” they argued.

Despite the benefits, more than one-third of the employees surveyed said they never worked remotely.

“Work has to happen on people’s terms,” said Holger Reisinger, senior vice president at Danish audio technology company Jabra. “We need to offer as diverse a choice as possible. I want it to be personal to me, to be more productive. The more you try to control that, the more you risk people being turned off work.”

The worldwide study also revealed that fewer than half of employees think their company makes good use of mobile technology – but those with employers that do do rate themselves as more productive, creative, loyal and satisfied.

Providing technical support for employees’ personal mobile devices and offering non-desk based areas for working were the most common mobile-friendly policies cited by workers who are impressed by their employers’ mobile strategy.

Additional research published in April 2016 by office furniture company Steelcase revealed that many UK workers are not being provided with the technology to work remotely. Fewer than 40 per cent have a work laptop – with a similar proportion being provided with a corporate mobile.

“The most engaged workers are those who have more control over their work experience, including the ability to work in the office, at home, or elsewhere, depending on their task, personality and work style,” said Steelcase UK & Ireland vice president  Bostjan Ljubic.

“With demand for remote working set to increase, employers would be wise to invest in the right tools and technology now, or they could be left behind,” he added

Do you work remotely? Why not try one of these exotic co-working spaces.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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